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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Irish computer software developed
Roughly 600,000 words will be translated into Irish for the software
Computer software in the Irish language is being developed in conjunction with Microsoft and the University of Ulster.

Versions of Microsoft Windows XP operating system, and its Office suite of business software are being developed for the Irish speaking computer user.

The project also involves experts at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, Foras na Gaeilge, the body responsible for the promotion of the Irish language, and the University of Limerick.

The University of Ulster input into the project, which concerns software localisation, is led by senior lecturer Dr Greg Toner.

"The translation of the Windows interface represents an extremely important advance for the Irish language. It brings the Irish language into the everyday sphere and will enable users of Windows XP and Office to carry out their work through the medium of Irish," he said.

"Electronic media are central to 21st century life and it is vital for lesser-used languages to establish themselves in that arena if they are to survive into the 22nd century."

In addition to helping Irish speaking families and businesses, we also expect the final product to be widely embraced by teachers and students throughout the island
Terry Landers
Microsoft Ireland

A community glossary website for Irish is one of the key components of the programme, which was announced by the Irish Republic's Minister for Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamonn O Cuiv.

The glossary of technical terms has been pre-translated by Foras na Gaeilge using their new Dictionary of Computing and Information Technology.

The glossary initiative will enable the Irish-speaking community the opportunity to make comments or contributions on the use of this technical terminology.

The final glossary will be used in the translation of the products into Irish and can also be used by the public as a reference source thereafter.

The full translation of the roughly 600,000 words involved will be undertaken by Irish Departments at the University of Ulster and NUI Maynooth and some testing will be carried out at the University of Limerick.

The final quality and consistency of the translation work done will be overseen by Foras na Gaeilge.

Terry Landers, Head of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Ireland said the company was committed to working with governments all over the world on programmes that help address specific challenges and meet the needs of citizens.

"We are proud to be part of an integrated approach bringing together the academic, corporate and government sectors to produce a truly representative product, which will help to increase access to technology in our native tongue," he said.

"In addition to helping Irish speaking families and businesses, we also expect the final product to be widely embraced by teachers and students throughout the island."

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