Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Local NGO wins top IT award

By Nadia Samie
29 November 2006

A South African NGO has won the African ICT Award 2006 by breaking the on-line language barrier. The award re-affirms South Africa's position as an Information and Communications Technology leader in Africa.'s work includes the translation of computer software into South Africa’s 11 official languages, using locally based translators, and more recently, the creation of the first all-South African language keyboard. Translate has also made spell checkers from Afrikaans all the way to Zulu.

Dwayne Bailey, the founder of, says that he has always dreamed of South African’s using computers in their mother tongue.

The NGO intervenes whenever technology becomes a barrier to language. For example, Venda cannot be accurately typed on a computer, resulting in Venda-speakers being unable to type their own names correctly. ’s keyboard means that Venda can for the first time be typed accurately along with all the other official languages, including Afrikaans and to a lesser extent Northern Sotho and Tswana.


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