Ugandan students translate Firefox

Published in Tectonic

Students and linguists from Makerere University have translated the open source web browser, Mozilla Firefox, into Luganda at a Translate@thon held on the campus in Kampala, Uganda last week.

The two-day gathering brought together almost 200 students and allowed them to make a practical contribution to their language’s presence in the digital age.

The Translate@thon was a partnership between Makerere University, Rhodes University and, originators of the Translate@thon concept. created the Translate@thon concept and the translation software that allows hundreds of people to translate simultaneously.

Researchers from Rhodes had the idea to run a Translate@thon to coincide with a conference held in Uganda.

The Translate@thon concept has been used in similar events across South Africa. It involves bringing a number of mother tongue speakers together to translate a piece of software into their language.

The students made use of a web-based translation tool called Pootle to make it possible for all 200 students to translate simultaneously. After translating key aspects of the software they spent a large amount of time correcting technical and language errors.

A lot of work remains on the translations, the use of terms needs to be clarified, technical issues need to be resolved but as it stands the product is usable by a Luganda speaker.

A beta test release of the translated software is available from:

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