Kiswahili is first African language to be supported by Microsoft Translator

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Microsoft has launched Kiswahili text translation, the first African language to be supported by the company’s automatic translation service, Microsoft Translator.

The translation system was created in collaboration with Translators without Borders, a non-governmental organization whose mission is to increase access to knowledge through humanitarian translations.

Translation to Kiswahili will be available throughout the Microsoft Translator ecosystem of supported products, thus empowering individuals and organizations through fast and cost-effective translation.The translation system aims at increasing access to knowledge as well as encouraging intercultural communication by creating new language systems.

Speaking at the launch, Microsoft’s Kenya Country Manager Kunle Awosika said that through the new translation system, governments in the region will be able to make documents and information available at virtually no cost. In addition, both government and non-governmental organizations will be able to quickly communicate with locals, and most importantly, people will be able to communicate back and forth across borders for both business and personal purposes.

“Adding Kiswahili brings us one step closer to our ultimate goal—permanently breaking down the language barriers that separate us by allowing people to translate anything, anywhere, at any time.  Kiswahili speakers in East Africa and around the globe now have access to a wider range of information and culture, and can interact with speakers of the 50 languages supported by Microsoft Translator. What’s more, speakers of these languages now also have direct access to the rich history and culture of Kiswahili speakers far and wide,” explained Mr. Awosika.

Microsoft Translator is integrated into many Microsoft and partner products including Bing, Microsoft Office, (Word, Word Online, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, and Visio), SharePoint, Cortana, and Yammer. It also has a full suite of apps for PCs and mobile devices including Windows, Windows Phone, Android and Android Wear, and iPhone and Apple Watch that enables communication across language barriers in nearly any scenario that requires timely and cost effective translation.

The Microsoft Translator Web Widget enables individuals and organisations to easily add multi-language support to their websites at no cost. Kiswahili will also be available as an instant messaging language in Skype for Windows Desktop for real-time communication around the world.In addition, developers will be able to integrate Kiswahili translation into their own products and apps through the Microsoft Translator API.

Source: CIO East Africa 22 October 2015