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Microsoft Partners With UNESCO Over Endangered Languages

Microsoft Corp., in collaboration with UNESCO, has launched an initiative of its own kind to save several rare languages from being lost after they have been falling victim to the ever-changing cultural landscape.

The company has announced that it will be launching its upcoming versions of Windows, Office, and Visual Studio software suites supported with several new language packs, including Yoruba in Nigeria, Inuktitut in Canada, Oriya in India, isiZulu in South Africa, to mention a few.

Additionally, Redmond-based software giant also unleashed 59 new Language Interface Packs for its next-generation Windows 7 OS and the forthcoming Office 2010 business suites.

Microsoft is touting that the support for 95 languages incorporated with the Local Language Program would help at least a billion people to work with Windows and Office suites in their local languages.

The announcement comes as part of the celebration of International Mother Language Day 2010, an occasion observed to preserve thousands of local dialects and languages across the globe.

A recent research has claimed that a local language dies out every 14 days, succumbing to advancements in technology, thereby taking away with it centuries of cultural history, traditions that existed in oral forms only, and a huge repository of knowledge.

Our Comments

Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director-general, said in a statement: “Linguistic diversity is under threat. This loss not only erodes individual communities and cultures, but more broadly, the very makeup of our societies." But then, Microsoft has a clear vested interest as it will help it sell more applications and services.

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