Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Terminology support for the Swahili language

I am really happy to have my friend Martin Benjamin as a guest blogger. He is looking for improving ICT-terminology for the Swahili language.
Maneno Magumu ya Kiteknolojia

We are asking for your help on a quick, important project intended to improve access to computer technology in East Africa. The task is simple: look through a list of English terms that are used in information technology, and vote on the Swahili translations or suggest your own.

Twaomba msaada wako kwenye mradi muhimu unaolenga kuboresha matumizi ya teknolojia za tarakilishi katika Afrika ya Mashariki. Shughuli ni rahisi: tazama orodha ya maneno yanayotumiwa kwenye teknolojia ya habari na mawasiliano, na kupigia kura tafsiri zilizoko za Kiswahili au pendekeza neno lako (unalofikiri ni sawa).

We need volunteers with good knowledge of information technology and the Swahili language. To get started, just visit manenomagumu.

Tunahitaji watu kujitolea ambao wana ujuzi wa teknolojia za mawasiliano na pia lugha ya Kiswahili. Kuanza, tembelea: manenomagumu.

Several efforts have been made to produce Swahili ICT vocabularies, but three big problems remain. First, many terms have been given poor Swahili equivalents because the original concept was misunderstood. Second, many terms have been given different Swahili equivalents in different translation projects; the same English term might have five different Swahili translations, depending on whether you are using Microsoft, Google, KiLinux, Facebook, or Wikipedia! Third, many terms have not yet been translated, and new terms keep appearing as ICT continues to evolve.

Kumekuwepo juhudi mbalimbali za kuandaa istilahi ya teknolojia kwa Kiswahili, lakini matatizo matatu bado yangalipo. Kwanza, maneno mengi yalitafsiriwa vibaya kwa sababu ya maana asili kutoeleweka. Pili, maneno mengi yalitafsiriwa tofauti katika miradi tofauti tofauti ya utafsiri; inawezekana kuwa neno lile lile la Kiingereza kuwa na tafsiri tano, kutegemea ikiwa unatumia Microsoft, Google, KiLinux, Facebook, au Wikipedia! Tatu, maneno mengi hayajatafsiriwa bado, na maneno mapya yanazidi kuvumbuliwa teknolojia inavyozidi kuwa.

The Kamusi Project is working to harmonize the various "localization" efforts, in order to have unified, consistent Swahili ICT terminology as we head into the next decade. Excitingly, we have the encouragement of both Microsoft and Google, usually big competitors, which are both interested in greatly expanding access to their services for Swahili speakers.

Kamusi Project inafanya kazi ya kuunganisha juhudi hizi za "Uswahilishaji", ili kuwa na orodha moja inayokubalika, ya istilahi ya kiteknolojia kwa Kiswahili, tunapoingia enzi ya tarakilishi katika Afika ya Mashariki. Kinachosisimua ni kwamba tunaungwa mkono na Microsoft na Google, ambao kwa kawaida ni washindani, ambao wanataka kuongeza sana huduma zao kwa wanaozungumza Kiswahili.

We have inspected all of the existing ICT terminology lists that we know of, from which we have produced several "packs" of difficult terms. Now we are seeking community participation to help reach agreement on how to express each term in Swahili going forward. The first five packs are available at manenomagumu.

Tumekagua orodha zote zinazopatikana za istilahi ya kiteknolojia, na tumetayarisha mafurushi kadhaa ya maneno magumu. Sasa tunatafuta jamii kuchangia ili kufikia makubaliano ya namna ya kusema kila neno kwa Kiswahili. Mafurushi yapatikana manenomagumu.

A few more packs will be added later this week, but we want to start the community review project immediately so that we can get rapid feedback if we need to adjust the process. This is an experimental project: as far as we know, this is the first time that any linguistic community has invited to help develop the ICT terms that will be used for their language in the future. If the experiment is successful, we will use the experience as the basis for more formal terminology development in the future, for Swahili and other African languages.

Mafurushi mengine machache yataongezwa mwisho wa wiki hii, lakini tunataka kuanza juhudi hii moja kwa moja ili tupate maoni ya jamii wanaochangia, kama ni lazima kubadilisha jinsi ya kuendelea. Bidii hii kweli ni ya majaribio: tunadhani kwamba ni mara ya kwanza kwamba wasemaji wa lugha yo yote wanakaribishwa kusaidia kwenye maendeleo ya istilahi ya kiteknolojia itakayotumiwa katika lugha yao. Majaribio yakifaulu, tutatumia uzoefu huu kama msingi wa maendeleo rasmi zaidi ya istilahi za kisayansi, kwa Kiswahili na lugha nyingi za Kiafrika.

So, for several reasons, it is very important that we have the participation of as many people as possible who (a) have a good understanding of the concepts involved in information technology, and (b) have good knowledge of the Swahili language.

Kwa hiyo, kwa sababu nyingi, ni muhimu sana tukiwa na watu wengi watakaojitolea ambao (a) wanaelewa vizuri maswala ya kiteknolojia, na (b) wanaelewa vizuri Kiswahili.

Please join us, or tell other people who you think might be interested. The project will end on 7 March, so please contribute this week if you want your voice to be counted in Swahili localization! Again, the website is manenomagumu.

Twaomba uungane nasi, au ueneze taarifa kwa watu wengine. Juhudi hii itamalizika 7 Machi, kwa hivyo ni muhimu uchangie wiki hii ikiwa unataka sauti yako ipate kusikika katika Uswahilshaji wa teknolojia. Tena, tovuti ni manenomagumu.

Notice: this project is only for volunteers who are interested in promoting the Swahili language. No payments or prizes are available. This effort is organized by Kamusi Project International and ANLoc, and is NOT officially affiliated with Microsoft, Google, BAKITA, or KiLinux. All suggestions are highly appreciated, and will be given the most serious consideration in the production of a harmonized Swahili ICT terminology set that will be made freely available online within the next few months.

Tangazo: juhudi hii ni kwa watu wa kujitolea wanaotaka kuendeleza Kiswahili. Hakuna malipo wala tuzo. Bidii hii imepangwa na Kamusi Project International na ANLoc, na hauna mahusiano rasmi na Microsoft, Google, BAKITA, au KiLinux. Tutashukuri kwa mapendekezo yoyote, na yatafikiriwa sana wakati wa kuandaa istilahi ya kiteknolojia katika Kiswahili. Istalahi itapatikana bila malipo kwa wote baada ya miezi michache.

Dr. Martin Benjamin
Executive Director, Kamusi Project International

twitter: kamusi
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