Software testers needed

Published in ITWeb is looking for people who can assist with the beta testing of translated OpenOffice software.

Director Dwayne Bailey says the organisation has translated OpenOffice, a word-processing program, into South African indigenous languages in the past year. The project was undertaken in phases, with the first translations done in Zulu, Sepedi and Afrikaans.

Now that there are translated versions in all South African languages, the next step is to test the software within a wider audience to ensure the language is correctly targeted and words are used within the right context. This will take place within the next week or two, Bailey says.

“Our ideal candidate is someone who is proficient in computers and languages.”

Bailey says one of the challenges is that people can be critical of translations, but fail to do something about it. An example is the translations used on the portal, he says.

He says translated software would be particularly useful for people who learn to use computers but battle with the English language. There are also application opportunities for government departments to use such software to provide useful information for the citizens in their own languages.

The Department of Communications is one of the organisation`s primary sponsors. Bailey says the translation project could potentially assist the department with its e-government objectives.

“They have understood that in terms of rural service delivery, own language communication is essential,” he says.

However, such ease of own-language communication is still far off. One of the key challenges is that when people use translated software to look for information, they are still likely to find content written in English. This is because there is not enough indigenous language content on the Web, Bailey says. He says government should set a precedent and develop indigenous language content.

As a step forward, the Department of Communications recently launched a portal that stores Web sites for each indigenous language. Called Sediba, the portal is a joint project between the department and the National Electronic Media Institute of SA.

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