South African PC users can buy office suite software in their home language, with the news that Pretoria-based Translate.org.za has released local language versions of the popular OpenOffice.org software in English, Afrikaans and Northern Sotho.

The software is fully translated into these languages and makes it easy for users to produce quality documents and spreadsheets in their mother tongue.
Dwayne Bailey, MD of Translate.org.za, says the release of the software was intentionally timed to coincide with Human Rights Day. “Being able to use software in your mother tongue is a key human right. The world of software is dominated by the English language and by having software in languages that users are comfortable with removes at least one barrier that makes technology inaccessible to many South Africans.”
Over the past eight years Translate.org.za has translated a range of software into local languages, including popular web browsers and email software, as well as producing a  language keyboard that supports indigenous languages.
Translate.org.za is a Proudly South Africa company and works to make technology accessible to all South African users, irrespective of the language that they speak. The organisation works with a team of indigenous language speakers to create local language spellcheckers and translated software which they use to encourage broader uptake of technology in the country.
“We're based in South Africa and use the income we generate through sales of software such as OpenOffice.org to translate other software into indigenous languages,” says Bailey.
The company chose to translate OpenOffice.org into local languages because it is widely used around the world and has been in development for more than 10 years.
Bailey says OpenOffice.org is also built around open standards which is why it has been adopted by many progressive governments around the world.
“Open standards in government communication is important because it guarantees access to information for all citizens. Locking information away in proprietary formats puts users at the mercy of software companies. OpenOffice.org's default format is the OpenDocument Format which is an ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) approved standard.”
The OpenOffice.org software also includes spell checkers in all three of the languages making it easier for users to produce professional documents in their home language.
The all-in-one OpenOffice.org suite includes a word processor, a spreadsheet application, a presentation tool as well as a graphics application.
Compatibility is also a key component in OpenOffice.org. “Users need to share documents with friends and colleagues,” says Bailey. “OpenOffice.org is fully compatible with all popular document formats including Microsoft Word and Excel files and can open and edit documents that users have created using other software.”
The OpenOffice.org package includes all three language versions in one pack and users are able to switch to their preferred language once it is running. The included User Guide helps  users through the installation of OpenOffice.org as well as providing them with tips on producing better documents and being more productive using OpenOffice.org.
The OpenOffice.org software costs R385.00 and is available from the www.translate.org.za web site.