Kiswahili Office 2010 language pack released in Tanzania


Software maker Microsoft has released a Kiswahili version of its popular productivity suite Office 2010 in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

A screenshot of Office 2010 (image: Microsoft)

The Kiswahili Local Language Pack is also backward compatible with previous versions of the suite (Office 2007 and Office 2003), and was introduced to compliment the Swahili version of Windows 7.

“For current users, the Swahili pack is free; anybody with genuine Microsoft Office software can download the extra language plug-ins from the internet,” said Microsoft’s Citizenship and Regional Education Manager for East and Southern Africa Dr Mark Matunga.

“We believe technology has an increasingly important role to play in the maintenance of linguistic diversity, not only to promote mutual understanding and dialogue, but also to strengthen local economies,” Matunga added.

The availability of Office 2010 in Kiswahili will enable over 50 million speakers in East Africa and Central Africa to participate effectively in economic development through ICT. With over 5 million native speakers and more than 50 million Africans speaking Kiswahili on a daily basis, Kiswahili is undoubtedly the most widely understood language in Africa after Arabic. The availability of Microsoft Office 2010 in Kiswahili is a remarkable step towards elimination of language as a barrier to technology access.

Charlie Fripp – Online editor

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