Language services company Rubric makes Firefox available in isiXhosa

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This is pretty cool. Rubric, which describes itself as a global language service provider (LSP), has donated its translation services to make Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser available in isiXhosa – South Africa’s second most spoken language.

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The isiXhosa version of Firefox is the latest translation of the browser, joining around 135 other languages that people using it can browse in.

Françoise Henderson, CEO of Rubric, says the company completed the translation of 30 000 words into isiXhosa, and will continue to support Mozilla in the interests of broadening mother-tongue access to information.

“We’re proud to be associated with a very noble undertaking,” she says. But it will also have commercial spin-off, she adds. “For a long time, Xhosa-speakers have had to put up with being served in English. We expect this pathfinder project will stimulate interest in Xhosa-translated content, which in turn will boost translation requirements.”

She reckons the effort should also make Xhosa speakers more likely to use the browser and that it will also make things easier for first time web users because “we also learn better in our own languages.”

“It is the second-most spoken language in South Africa after isiZulu, ahead of Afrikaans and English, and it deserves to have a dedicated browser, just as the others do,” Henderson adds.

Rubric chief technology officer Ian Henderson meanwhile says that the open source nature of Firefox made the translation easier.

“Firefox is being developed along the lines of the latest thinking in software development — with a new version being released every six weeks. Alongside a large group of volunteer translators, our contribution of translation, project management and quality assurance has added isiXhosa to the list of languages Firefox is available in,” he says.

Mozilla structures its coding efforts as open source projects, so it is relatively easy for translators to contribute, he says.

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