Translate.org.za is a fantastic project to take various bits of open source software (including Firefox and the Gnome desktop) and to translate it, making versions available in all of South Africa’s eleven official languages. It’s interesting to see what is essentially a fairly technical project trying to make the work more accessible to non-technical volunteers. It’s also great to see such collaboration between volunteers and sponsors — there’s quite a list at the top of the homepage of organisations sponsoring the work.

As we move further and further towards fully multinational companies and teams, universities and schools, these sort of interventions are what will give the Open Source movement the killer-app advantage. If all you need is a group of people to give some time in their lunch breaks or evenings to take existing software and open it up to entirely new markets, how on earth are companies going to compete with that?

All this from the continent were the life-expectancy chart looks like this. Admirable work from a country fighting just to survive long enough to have computers freely available.

Related: Localization reduces support cost