The Venda language is the latest of three languages to be included in the latest release of the open source desktop environment KDE. Translate.org.za, the organisation doing the translation work, is hoping to have another three languages ready for the release of KDE3.1 later this year.
Translate.org.za has already translated the open source KDE software into Xhosa and Zulu.
Dwayne Bailey, Translate.org.za project director, says the project plans to start work on the next three languages, Tsonga, Tswana and Sesotho, early next month.
Primary sponsor for the Translate.org.za project is the Shuttleworth Foundation.
Translate.org.za is in the process of setting up its own dedicated translation laboratory, which it says will greatly enhance its ability to increase the scale of output.
Bailey says Translate.org.za has been incorporated into the recently formed section 21 Zuza Software Foundation, along with the Linuxlab.org.za project. Much of the work of both these projects in the past was sustained through skills supplied by Obsidian Systems, and Bailey says the formation of the Zuza Software Foundation is an attempt to separate the individual projects from the company. The formation of a not-for-profit organisation will also enable the projects to apply for local and international donor funding.
“The Zuza Software Foundation will allow us to take on grander projects in making open source software more widely available. The main idea of the foundation is to focus on open source development for empowerment … and tackle wider social issues.”
Bailey says usage of the translated software is difficult to judge, although projects such as DireqLearn and Linuxlab.org.za have announced projects including indigenous languages.
“The real inroads will be made when we translate Mozilla,” notes Bailey. Unlike the KDE translations which rely on people having Linux installed, Mozilla can be run on a range of platforms giving access to a greater number of users.
He says the plan is to translate Mozilla into Xhosa initially before looking at any of the other official languages.