Lackng official influence frees me up somewhat to talk about things that interest me

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/03/08 07:01 -05:00, original URI:

Over in the Suggestion Box, alim geor commented/suggested:

hello, Mr.Kaplan !   i'm from urumqi, xinjiang uyghur autonomous region,China. i'm a Chinese-English-Uyghur translator or say, linguist. As one of the very few Uyghur - learning / speaking Han Chinese citizen who has received decent Chinese and western education as well in this Uyghur autonomous province of Xinjiang,  i was invited last year to join my best friend's latest project team aimed to produce an effective Uyghur - Chinese automatic translation software and head a Uyghur-Chinese translation workshop of several Uyghur translators .

  Over the past 7 months i've come to discover with so much shock and frustration that 9 million Uyghur people in Xinjiang and the other 500,000 elsewhere have been facing so many obstacles when it comes to benefiting from new technologies such as those everyday fundamentals like windows /office . Most Uyghurs find it almost impossible to learn Chinese because of the huge difference between the two languages , religions and cultures. Only 10 % at most, primarily in Urumqi, speak proper Chinese for basic communication. Around 1 % of the Uyghur population only are able to read the Chinese characters efficiently enough to understand the windows instructions while English is not a compulsory lesson at school . Such problems always lead to many other social imbalance and chaos : ethnic marginalization, educational inequality, psychological segregation and so on.

  I happened to come across Microsoft's LLP. THANK GOD !  I 've been tremendously overwhelmed by your committment to helping more people worldwide benefit from technology, while striving to preserve local languages and cultural identities.  I just can't keep myself from reciting one more time ---" LLP is part of a worldwide initiative dedicated to providing individuals access to desktop computer software in their native language. In many parts of the world, technology has transformed the way people and businesses share and use information, improved the way children and adults learn, and helped governments address social and economic issues in ways never before imagined. "

  This program is indeed wonderful, beyond description. So my immediate question is : have you started or ever considered starting to tackle the Uyghur version of windows /office ??  As you know, the Uyghurs have the 2nd largest population in the whole Central Asia only second to Uzbekistan. Their magnificent culture has always  been recognized as a leading contributor for centuries in this vast region, let alone it's the biggest province in China --- 1/6 in area.

There's a direct appeal for ya!

I was reminded a little bit about recent blogs like Windows the Enabler that go into a bit of detail of all the various steps on the road to language support.

And of course I was reminded of previous blogs about Uyghur, like The inappropriate nature of getting the Feh out of Uighur, Windows 7 editionand There is no "I" in "Uyghur". Oh. Um. Well, except in the Windows Language Bar.... and in the context of all three of these blogs I mentioned and also especially a fourth blog (Why one LIP and not another?), I feel compelled to point out that asking me isn't really the way to get a Language Interface Pack created for your language.

As I said in that latter blog (in addition to talking about the complex set fo circumstances that has led to being added to that list in the past), I simply lack that kind of power.

I mean, I wouldn't refuse the job if it were handed to me (it might even have fewer frustrations than what I do now), but there are other important skills that the people who make that decision draw on. And I don't have some of those important skills.

So of course I will forward the link to this blog onto those folks, but the decision-making process is one that is way more complicated than an email or a note or a blog. So let's all have reasonable expectations about that!

With all of that said, the issues behind On not looking at Uyghur through a Chinese prism clamor for attention and refuse to be silenced, especially since they kind of underscore one of the very concerns that alim geor raises in the original comment: the fact that Uyghur is not Chinese. and the many issues raised here make this quite an interesting question to me, at least!

John Cowan on 8 Mar 2011 8:51 AM:

There is an Uyghur localization of Ubuntu, though not of

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