I’ve just finished Don Osborn’s African Languages in a Digital Age: Challenges and opportunities for indigenous language computing. Watch out for my review in a forthcoming issue of the magazine.

In the meantime, anyone interested in reading the book for themselves can download a PDF version from

African Languages in a Digital Age

We don’t see enough written about the subject of African localization, language technology, and related issues, so the book is very welcome. Also, check out Claire Ulrich’s article on technological developments for African languages in the July/August 2010 issue of Multilingual. This offers insights into more recent developments.

Why isn’t Africa covered more on the agendas of the “mainstream” localization conferences? The absence of African-related program and keynote items is very telling. Yet, the continent is home to over 2,000 languages. Initiatives like AGIS, therefore, are especially important in addressing peer-networking and learning opportunity gaps for the industry on that continent.

I’ve seen more written about vuvuzelas in the last two weeks than I’ve seen written about ICT localization in Africa in the last 20 years.

Let’s change that. There’s more to Africa than the World Cup.


Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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