Microsoft is planning to release Irish-language versions with the forthcoming releases of Microsoft’s new Vista operating system and Office 2007, it emerged today.
As part of a partnership with Foras na Gaeilge, Microsoft has pledged to make its latest products available in the Irish language.
As a result, Irish speakers and students will be able to use the latest PC features in an Irish-language environment.
The company announced its Irish language plans at the opening of a new all-Irish co-educational secondary college in Limerick city, Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh.
Mark Gleeson, group manager, Microsoft Office, said: “The way we use computer technology continues to change and develop from how we find information to how we use the internet and create and share information and documents.
“Windows Vista and 2007 Office have been designed to help people to take advantage of the latest technologies and with the Irish-language versions we’re ensuring that Irish speakers will have full access to the very latest features and capabilities as they use computers in school, college, work and home.
“We’re delighted that Foras na Gaeilge is continuing to lend its expertise in making these benefits available to all Irish speakers. The response to the Irish versions of Windows XP and Office 2003 has been fantastic and we’re proud that we’re continuing that commitment,” Gleeson said.
In 2004 Microsoft and Foras na Gaeilge undertook the full localisation, development and translation of more than 600,000 terms across both Windows and Office products. The efforts of the two organisations were supported by a wide number of community groups and native Irish-language speakers who helped with vocabulary selection and testing. Windows XP and Microsoft Office were made available to the public in Irish in 2005.
The translation of a further 2,000 terms to cover all the new features available in Vista and 2007 Office is taking place again in partnership with Foras na Gaeilge.
In addition to translating the language terms there will be extensive engineering work to ensure that Irish language users can take advantage of all the new features.
This software localisation and development is being undertaken by Microsoft employees at the European Product Development Centre, the European Development Centre and the European Operations Centre in Sandyford, Co Dublin.
By John Kennedy