Translate.org.za and its community of volunteer translators have customised Mozilla’s hugely popular Firefox web browser to support Zulu. This is the culmination of work that started in 2009 through Translate’s participation in the African Network for Localisation (ANLoc), a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
One day after the global release of Firefox 4 on 22 March 2011, the web started buzzing with many conversations, blogs and comments about ‘cool features to drool over in Firefox 4′, Zulu speaking South Africans can for the first time join in the conversation.
Ten percent of South Africa’s population, about 5 million people, are internet users. Less than ten percent of South Africans’ mother tongue is English. By looking at the facts and figures and realising the need to get more South Africans online, Translate.org.za started developing a number of language extensions for Firefox. Today, they celebrated new translated versions of Firefox 4 in Zulu, Northern Sotho, South African English and Afrikaans.
Firefox 4 has surpassed all other web browsers with an outstanding 42.4% penetration in overall usage making it the most popular web browser to date. The Zulu language pack, available as an add-on, adds full isiZulu translations to all interfaces. In 2008, Samuel Murray translated Firefox 3 into Afrikaans and earlier this year, a successful integration of the Northern Sotho language was released.
Firefox 4, customised by the community for the community, helping to build a better internet in Zulu. Click here if you haven’t yet installed the ever popular web browser. Translate.org is encouraging all South African’s to spread the word around the new language pack release: “Tell all your friends so that the whole of ‘Mzansi‘ (South) knows that the web belongs to all South Africans as much as it belongs to the rest of the world.”
Other language translations are expected for future releases of the browser but this of course will be dependent on the readiness of fully-translated versions.