First of all, I’ve helped TNW fix their headline from the post where I first saw this. Hehe.

The gist is Google looks to be almost ready to turn on Google translate for five “promising” African languages — Hausa, Igbo, Somali, Yoruba and Zulu. So they are looking for speakers of these languages to tell them how much their current translation system rocks or sucks.

Sounds like a job for Kola Tunbosun (@Baroka) and the Tweet Yoruba movement, as far as Yoruba is concerned. Sugabelly might be interested in rallying a posse for Igbo. I’m sure the other languages have their evangelists.

yoruba google translate

Second of all, Nigeria’s three major languages going Google-mainstream all at once in this manner is very telling. We already knew you guys were worldwide, so no surprises.

Third of all, Google is one of the few companies that not just gets the power of local but can put real muscle behind it. Only other people operating on this level are perhaps the telcos and their IVR systems. Last week, I discovered that my customer care language was set to Yoruba by default.

Last of all, pidgin english, which you can already view Google in, (no click dat one, unless you wan make your Google dey talk pidgin o) doesn’t make the list of promising languages. Because it’s not an indigenous African language, I’m guessing?

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Bankole Oluwafemi Author

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