Yes, I know it happened a month ago – I’ve been busy! But just in case anyone did miss it, the Welsh Windows Vista and Office 2007 Language Interface Packs were launched in December.

An interesting snippet from the press release:

“The project involved the translation of 600,000 words in to the Welsh language.”

I am quite impressed by this statistic – that is a lot of words. When you see numbers like these it makes you realise how important translation memories are. It would be interesting to know how many new words needed translated. I imagine that after the initial translation, the translation involved in software upgrades must be relatively small. I would still very much like to see a white paper about the localisation issues encountered in this project. I think it would provide a fascinating insight into the process and potential pitfalls and would prove useful for other localisation projects. Perhaps the WLB could make it a requirement the next time the job comes round for tender?

I’m very reassured that Microsoft has demonstrated a continuing commitment to providing Welsh language software, as I did initially have concerns about this. I’m also glad that there isn’t too much lag between the English and Welsh language versions being released. However, I still wonder about what can be done practically to address the issues of take-up. My own feeling is that we ought to be concentrating on getting it into schools., so that a generation grows up with Welsh as a language of computing. However this makes assumptions about the software that is already in schools, the availability of appropriate teaching materials (in Welsh and featuring the Welsh interface) and teachers willing and able to use the Welsh software.It seems to me that if there is a “push” from the school and the children, parents are more likely to install it on their home computer (if we can get over their technical concerns – perhaps the WLB or CMC could provide free installathons for parents) and perhaps once the parents have got used to having it at home, they will be instrumental in getting it into the workplace. Of course this is only speculation, and it make be that a more top-down approach, perhaps using existing Welsh Language Schemes, may also be required.

I can’t help feeling that there is genuine potential here, but we really need to think about how we can fully realise that potential.