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MAORI

Microsoft New Zealand launches Māori Language Packs

Friday 8 July 2011, 8:33AM
By Microsoft New Zealand
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Microsoft New Zealand today launched the new Māori Language Packs for Windows 7 and Office 2010, which can be downloaded free from the Microsoft website.

The release will allow Kiwis learning te reo Māori, as well as those fluent in it, to fully immerse themselves in the language when using the latest versions of Windows and Microsoft Office*.

The translation builds on the work of the Maori Language Commission and the University of Waikato in previous interpretations for Microsoft XP and Vista, and offers a wider vocabulary and greater accuracy, particularly when it comes to new words describing new innovations and technology.

“We found that certain Māori words used in relation to technology didn’t always capture the true spirit of the English word, so we’ve developed and adapted words that are becoming increasing adopted,” says Wareko Te Āngina, an independent translator who worked as moderator on the project.

“It’s great to see a company like Microsoft not just providing a translation, but also helping to develop the Māori language to ensure it has a strong future.”

As of the 2006 Census, only 130,000 people could hold a conversation about everyday things in te reo Māori, and only one in six Māori aged under 15 years could speak the language fluently.

“For languages to survive, they need to be used in normal day-to-day activities, and because technology and computers are such a big part of our lives, the language needs to be used in technology as well,” says Dr Te Taka Keegan, Senior Lecturer at the University of Waikato.

“We are very excited about the opportunities the new translations will bring for te reo students, particularly those in immersion schools. It can only help to strengthen the language and encourage greater use.”

The localised language pack translates commonly-used features within specific Microsoft products using a ‘skin’ on top of the existing frameworks, giving the user the ability to use the technology in a language that is familiar and honours linguistic and cultural differences.

“Technology plays a huge role in the dissemination of culture – it has a significant impact on education and the way we use language,” says Mark Rees, Microsoft New Zealand’s National Technology Officer.

“We believe the new Māori language translations for Windows 7 and Office 2010 will help to strengthen the Māori language and encourage more Kiwis to learn our native language.”

Microsoft currently has more than 200 language translations and has offered New Zealand English as an option for a number of years, as well as the previous Māori versions of Office and Windows.

The local translations are part of Microsoft’s Local Language Programme, which is a global initiative that aims to preserve indigenous languages and cultural identities. The programme has created more than 60 language packages and an estimated 1.7 billion people have benefited from the translations.

To download the Māori translation for Office 2010 go to:
http://bit.ly/Office2010_Maori

To download the Māori translation for Windows 7 go to:
http://bit.ly/Windows_Maori

Once downloaded the language options can be accessed via the options menu in Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows 7.