Microsoft discovers the Gaelic language
Users of Microsoft Windows and Office can now install an Irish Gaelic version of the software, as part of Microsoft's initiative to boost minority languages.
The Gaelic Language Interface Pack (LIP) can be downloaded from Microsoft's site or www.gaeilge.ie, free of charge. The packs are supported by Microsoft and Foras na Gaeilge, an agency responsible for fostering the use of Gaelic among the population in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Microsoft and Foras na Gaeilge developed the interface, localising over 600,000 terms across both products. The interface also benefited from extensive consultation with Gaelic speakers and community groups, who helped with vocabulary selection and testing processes. The software was launched by Eamon O Cuiv, the Republic of Ireland's minister for community, rural and Gaeltacht affairs [...] The initiative is part of Microsoft's Local Language Programme, which aims to increase access to technology to all by enabling people to work through their native language.
The Irish Gaelic version is not a full localisation. Users install the local language version on top of an English-language version of Windows XP and Office and approximately 85 percent of the programmes are translated.
This comes as the latest addition to Microsoft's recent discovery of lesser-spoken languages like Welsh. Why the sudden Redmond interest? We can, perhaps, hazard some guesses.
More competition, please! In that vein, it is important to note the importance of keeping US-style software patents out of Europe, in order to protect start-ups (both commercial and open-source/Free). This is an issue which may seem obscure now, but has very real consequences for innovation and competition.
p.s. kudos to Aehso, who seems to have been covering this issue for a while.