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Microsoft Leverages Tech to Preserve Languages at Risk of Disappearing

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The logo of UNESCO's International Mother Language Day.

Microsoft wants to develop software to help dying languages maintain their relevancy.

Credit: UNESCO

Microsoft is working to make technology more accessible to users who may not speak a major language or have a way in which to keep their language alive. The company wants to develop software that helps lost languages maintain their relevancy in the modern age.

"Since the ability to speak a language also gives us insight into a culture and a broader world view, language learning gives us more understanding than we get from simply having a translator present or learning a common diplomatic language," says Microsoft's Scott Charney.

The company has been working to expand its translation services to help both businesses and consumers. For example, in December Microsoft released a preview of Skype Translator, a real-time text and spoken translation service. In addition, the company's Window's 10 operating system, which is set to officially launch later this year, will work better with the world's more than 7,000 living languages. Microsoft also is releasing the Universal Shaping Engine, a script-rendering technology that enables Windows 10 to correctly display all of the world's writing systems.

"A shaping engine is used for so-called complex text layout, which is needed for about half of the world's writing systems," says Microsoft's Andrew Glass.

From eWeek
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