Daily Video: Microsoft Applies Tech to Preserve Ethnic Languages

By eWEEK Staff  |  Posted 2015-03-20 Print this article Print

This eWEEK daily video focuses on Microsoft's effort to use its translation technology to help people around the world preserve and continue to speak their ethnic languages.

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Microsoft is working to ensure that cultural fabric of some ethnic populations doesn't fade away because today's software doesn't speak their language.

While celebrating UNESCO's International Mother Language Day, Microsoft showed off its progress in making technology more accessible to users who may not speak a major language or have a way in which to keep their language alive.

Microsoft has been working to expand its translation services to help businesses and consumers break down communication barriers.

In December, the company released a preview of Skype Translator months after impressing the industry with an early demonstration of the real-time text and spoken translation service.

Scott Charney, corporate vice president of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said in a February 23 announcement that Microsoft Translator will support Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi in an ongoing effort to further language preservation.

The company's Windows 10 operating system, which Microsoft will officially launch later this year, will also work better with the world's wealth of languages—more than 7,000 living languages in fact, according to Charney.

He explained that Microsoft will release the Universal Shaping Engine, which he described as a groundbreaking script-rendering technology that allows the OS to correctly display of all of the world's writing systems.

Andrew Glass, program manager of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, explained in a separate blog post that by the time Windows 8.1 came around, the company had developed shaping engines that covered 27 of the most popular writing systems.

However, it wasn't enough because if your script wasn't one of these 27, you were out of luck. This led to the development of the Universal Shaping Engine.

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