Centre for Text Technology (CTexT) at the North-West University has once again completed software that will enable South Africans to use technology in the language of their choice, this time launching spelling checkers for nine local languages.


CTexT, in collaboration with several linguistic partners, has completed spelling checkers for nine South African languages, to be used in Microsoft Office programmes such as Microsoft Word.
These spelling checkers, which joins the one for Afrikaans that forms a part of CTexT’s Afrikaanse SkryfGoed 2008, will help anyone who types in Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda or Xitsonga to better their writing by highlighting spelling errors and suggesting alternatives.
Apart from recognising spelling errors, all these products also include hyphenators (which are most helpful for page layout by breaking up long words at the end of a line). The Afrikaans package (Afrikaanse SkryfGoed 2008) also includes a Grammar Checker and Thesaurus.
“By working in close collaboration with linguists at South African universities and the national language bodies, we developed spelling checkers that evaluate words according to the official orthography of each language," says Martin Puttkammer, project leader of this ambitious project. "In addition, users can add new words to a custom dictionary, thereby expanding the recognition of the spelling checkers and accommodating the constant evolution of our languages and the specialised vocabulary of certain domains."
This is the only range of spelling checkers in South Africa that caters for ten of the official languages, while being based on extended research at a South African university.
The Spelling Checkers may be downloaded, at a minimal cost of R195, from www.spel.co.za. Licence options are also available for multiple computers.