Firefox browser gets Xhosa language pack

2013-09-10 09:31
A Xhosa language pack has been developed for the Firefox browser. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

A Xhosa language pack has been developed for the Firefox browser. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Xhosa speakers will soon have access to the Firefox web browser in their own language, thanks to a language services company.

Rubric has donated its translation services to make the Mozilla browser available in Xhosa.

The company though said that the expansion of the language pack in the browser might have commercial benefits.

"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," said Françoise Henderson, CEO of Rubric.

Firefox is already available in several South African languages including Afrikaans, Zulu and Sotho, and the additional of Xhosa is important as it serves a significant of the local audience.

According to the South Africa.info website, then most widely spoken language in SA is Zulu at 22.7%, while Xhosa is spoken as a home language by 16%. English as a home language is only spoken by 9.6% of South Africans.

At the provincial level, around 78.8% of people in the Eastern Cape are home language Xhosa speakers.

Firefox is the second most popular browser globally, with a market share of 28.2%, down slightly from 32.8% a year ago. The Google Chrome browser is the dominant internet browser with a market share of 52.9%, according to w3schools.com.

Rubric translated 30 000 words into Xhosa for the language pack and the company hopes that it will lead to a spike in Xhosa-specific products online.

"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," said Henderson.


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