Re: Multilingual Documents

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Dec 03 1999 - 07:22:02 EST

Ar 01:15 -0800 1999-12-03, scríobh
> Chris Pratley wrote:
> >I find it ironic that the biggest driver for multilingual
> support, and therefore Unicode support, and thereby support for
> minority languages in mainstream software, has been the needs
> of large "faceless multinational corporations" - the same ones
> that are often vilified for trampling smaller cultures. Funny
> how things seem to work out in the end.
> Not that I don't greatly appreciate all the I18N advances I've
> seen software from Microsoft and many others, but support for
> several dozen languages is still just a drop in the bucket when
> it comes to > 6,800 minority languages.

I wasn't going to say anything because I'd just get yelled at for Microsoft
bashing. But even for some of the more prominent minority languages, let's
look at the facts.

Internet Explorer is given away free in English to every school in Ireland.
Where is the Irish version? There isn't one. Why not? Because those of us
who do localization work (i.e. the actual translations) cannot afford to
pay Microsoft to get one. Back when Windows 95 came out, there was talk in
the papers about an Irish version. Microsoft said there could be one, for
the price of £250,000. Considering the tax relief they get from the Irish
government for their facilities in Sandyford, one wonders a little. A
quarter of a million pounds is a lot of money.

Microsoft is, of course, doing what it needs to get internationalized
software to work. But I don't think the picture is as rosy as Chris painted

Try explaining to a child in a Gaelic-speaking school that his language is
every bit as good as the majority language when he can only surf the net in

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Vox +353 1 478 2597 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Mob +353 86 807 9169
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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