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Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 22:20 UK

Firefox translated into Luganda

Firefox logo, Mozilla
Mozilla Firefox has steadily increased its share of the web browsing market

African software and language experts have launched a project to translate Mozilla's Firefox web browser into the local Ugandan language of Luganda.

The project aims to increase the number of non-English speakers using computers particularly in rural areas of Uganda.

If successful, Firefox will be the first computer program to have been translated into Luganda.

About five million Ugandans speak Luganda, the most widely spoken language after English and Swahili.

Basic words

The initiative to translate Firefox into Luganda is being led by Uganda's Makerere University, South Africa's Rhodes University and Translate.org.za, a non-profit organisation.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in Kampala says 120 software engineers and 120 language specialists were invited to a two-day workshop to collaborate on the project this week.

So far, some basic words have been translated into Luganda, our correspondent says.

Venacious Baryamureba, the dean of Makerere's Faculty of Computing and Information Technology, said the project would increase the number of people using computers in Uganda.

"Everything is available in English and there are people who know Luganda, who can read Luganda but cannot read English. So it's a step towards localising most of these things into local content," he said.

Our correspondent says Ugandans are looking forward to using Luganda and other local languages to search for information on the internet.

Microsoft launched its Windows and Office software in Kiswahili (Swahili) - which is spoken by more than 110 million people across eastern and central Africa - in 2005.

Language experts from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar as well as the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of Congo developed a common glossary for the software.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Uganda
15 Apr 08 |  Country profiles
Surfing in Swahili
10 Aug 00 |  Africa

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