4 October 2013

MS-Office Translate

Languages, Part 4a

MS-Office Translate

In MS-Office, in Word, under “Review”, the above icon can be found with the word “Translate” under it.

Clicking it leads you into a process of translation of your document. This is done via the Internet, through the browser Internet Explorer, which must be available on your computer.

The controls appear in a panel on the right of your screen. You choose from drop-down menus which language you want to translate from and to. When you click “Translate the whole document”, the browser opens and you will soon have a translation.

The number of languages it offers is less than Google, and it does not include any indigenous African languages at all.

It is an effective instrument for translating from French to English, and vice-versa. As such, it is a help to Africans.

But this Internet translator is another example of the regrettable dominance of the same dominant languages, even with this tool that is capable of redressing the balance.

It may be that government action would be required, say in the form of subsidy to service providers or academics, so that automatic translation services in and between all of our South African official languages is made available.

But the history of PanSALB does not encourage an expectation that this could happen easily, or soon.

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