Saturday, December 4, 2010
As part of their mission to have greater engagement with African audiences from different countries, Google has begun translating their website into African languages. The Lesotho page was recently offered in Zulu, I guess by proximity to South Africa, but there aren't many Zulu speakers here that I know of. I wondered if Sesotho, the language of nearly all Basotho (the Lesotho people), would be offered or if it is in fact too obscure for Google to care.
This morning however, when I opened up my browser, I was presented with Sesotho as the default language of www.google.co.ls. A pleasant surprise indeed. Not being a fluent Sesotho speaker quiet yet, I quickly reverted back to English, but it was a relief to see that native Sesotho speakers and anyone else with an interest in the "Mountain Kingdom" could click on the "I'm feeling lucky" bar in language they feel comfortable with. In this case it says KE IKUTLWA KE LE LEHLOHONOLO. Ngugi wa Thiongo would be so proud. Now we just need more Sesotho language content on the web. And I'm still waiting for Google The Gambia to be in Mandinka. But perhaps it might not be so far-fetched anymore.