Mombasa Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

How I localized Microsoft Programs into Swahili within a record time

Mpasua Msonobari at Google Headquarters 2b

What comes into your mind when you hear the word Microsoft? For some it is Bill Gates. For some it is the dusty, old CPU that has been under their bed for many months. For some it is actually their workplace since whenever they start their day they cannot fail to hear the Windows 8 or Windows 10 booting sound as they switch on their laptops or desktops. Yet for some, it is the bitter divorce that befell the lovely couple Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda Gates.

However, for me Mpasua Msonobari, whenever I hear of Microsoft what comes in my mind is localization, my red Subaru Forester, our first Satelite Interpreter and Translator call center in Umoja and of course my trip to Sandtone, South Africa for the Local Languages Program conference organized by Microsoft.

Well, to be fair with you let me start with localization. Microsoft gave me an opportunity to localize for them their programs from English into the Swahili language. I spent a record 10 weeks localizing for them their programs of over 300,000 words into the Swahili language and so for me whenever I hear Microsoft, localization comes to my mind. Well, apart from having 10 kilograms less, which is something I had gained during the 10 weeks, I also gained several thousands of dollars, from which I bought my pet car, a red Subaru Forester XT.

Localization is a delicate skill. This is because it is not just the translation of the English words in that program to your target language. No. It is not. It entails being able to interpret and analyse the nuances, context, and the intended meaning of the English source text before arriving and settling on any given Swahili translation and so for me, during those 10 weeks of the Swahili localization of the Microsoft products, I became chained and soaked into the Microsoft register.

Just like all the other huge localization projects into Swahili and even other African languages that I have undertaken, the in-house team of translators, editors, proofreaders, proofcheckers, transcribers, and even the subordinate staff that prepared for us a conducive environment to work, have always stuck in my memory. I sincerely thank them from the bottom of my heart for selfelssly dedicating their lives and their energy and their time to such very important missions that we have undertaken at Languages Africa. Some of them may not be around to receive this gratitude as they have since been deceased, in my mind I have Millicent Wangeci my long serving personal assistnt who we lost in mid 2021. I can tell you for a fact that without teamwork nothing can be achieved easily. Remember they say, alone you can go fast but together we can go far.

Languages Africa being speared by myself Mpasua Msonobari who is the CEO, Founder, Swahili Interpreter and Translator has indeed come from far. This I dare say is as a result of exhibiting a pure teamwork spirit amongst all of us the Team players.

Well, as much as we did have the delicious dish of fully localized Swahili Microsoft products, I believe the pot that made this happen, the pot that we used to cook this delicious dish is worth mentioning. I'm talking about our first Satelite Interpreter and Translator, Call Center situated in Umoja, near Greenspan Mall, off Moi Drive in Nairobi City. For my ignorant readers and/ or listeners, Nairobi is in an African country situated in Kenya which is indeed the gateway to Africa.

Through this Office we were able to process, localize, finalize, and submit successfully the so called Swahili localized Microsoft products. That is why whenever I hear Microsoft this particular Satelite Interpreter and Translator Call Center comes to my mind. Never mind that many years later, we now do have five more other Satelite Interpreter and Translator Call Centers scattered all over Africa and one in Columbus, Ohio.

As Languages Africa continues to work with other similar companies we do assure you that we shall help you to navigate through the complexities of localizing in African languages and at the end of the day, help your company or organization to converse with Africa through the African languages.

Mpasua Msonobari is the CEO and Founder of Languages Africa, a seasoned Swahili and other African languages translator and OPI & VRI interpreter who can be reached directly on his Whatsapp number +254 725 084 032 or you can simply shoot him an email at [email protected] or [email protected]



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