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Nearly a decade of collaboration between language experts to weave te reo into Microsoft products was recognised with an award at the Māori Language Awards 2012 last week in Tauranga. The moving celebration brought together supporters of the language from around the country to celebrate the contributions of 30 finalists.
Anne Taylor who has been a champion of the project within Microsoft said, “We are truly honoured to win an award in the IT and Telecommunications category. It is a privilege to be able to collaborate on this work with so many advocates of Māori culture and language.”
The free downloads for Windows, Office and Internet Explorer let people use those products in te Reo Māori. Two thousand technology-related terms were expressed in te reo for the first time, and 100,000 phrases were translated. People who install the free downloads will see that Windows, Office and Internet Explorer feature te reo Māori pervasively. The words on the menus, the help that appears when they pause their mouse pointers over and their computer settings will be infused with the language.
Waikato University senior lecturer in Information Technology and Services, Dr Te Taka Keegan, has worked closely with Microsoft in the development of the free downloads and says the award recognises the need for greater access to technology to facilitate the use of the language on an everyday basis.
"It is totally appropriate that Microsoft's insight, belief and philanthropic support of te reo Māori was recognised with this prestigious award. This is recognition of nearly 10 years of work that has laid a foundation for te reo Māori in the technology environment and highlighted how te reo Māori can be used in modern contexts,” says Dr Keegan.
“The impact of Microsoft's work is far reaching, giving future generations of Māori language speakers the expectation that their computing and technology can, and more importantly should, be available in te reo Māori."
The judges who made the award, noted the importance of working collaboratively to ensure the quality of the work, and investing in tamariki by offering an interface from primary school age. This allows youth to be immersed in te reo for life.
Anne Taylor says the work involved in the development of the Māori language pack would not have been possible without the many people working towards a common goal. Individual contributors include Haami Piripi, Huhana Rokx, Sharon Armstrong, Lee Smith, Te Haumihiata Mason, Te Taka Keegan, Tom Roa, Roger Lewis, Wareko Te Āngina, Eva Mahara, Hohepa MacDougall, John Moorfield and Dave Moskovitz.
“On behalf of Microsoft, I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make te reo come to life in a technological context, and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori for their encouragement and recognition of the work that has been done,” says Anne.
“We are humbled to receive this award, but the biggest reward for everyone who has worked on this is to see the uptake of the te reo language packs in homes, schools and organisations. For the future vibrancy of any language, it is important that people – especially young people – can use it like this in their everyday lives. So please, try it out.”
The free downloads are already available across three generations of Microsoft products, from Windows XP and Office 2003 onwards. They can be found with a web search for “Windows language pack microsoft.com”, “Office language pack microsoft.com”, or at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=mi.
“We’re not stopping here. I look forward to embarking on our next voyage together,” adds Anne.
Notes: Images of the Māori language pack in use are available here: http://sdrv.ms/SYLVwC
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.