I'd like to add a set of technologies involving language to the list before this thread is entirely cold: translators, text-to-speech (TTS), and speech-to-text (STT). In societies of the global South that are multilingual, and have strong oral traditions and low literacy rates, these technologies might be used in some interesting ways. For instance, computer translators could be used to help speed up translation of educational materials for publication. TTS could turn any text web page into something oral (even if aethetically not as pleasing as the human voice). STT could be used to assist in transcribing oral histories etc., and I wonder about the possibility of creating synchronized audio-text files with this technology which would facilitate searching.
All three of these "language transformative" technologies exist and are being refined. Aside from time and money to make them work for different needs & settings, they do depend on staying with a standard orthography for each language - an area where ICT and language policies need to be coordinated. While computer translators are kind of a gimmick to many in the North and a tool used in a limited (?) way by some businesses, and TTS and STT are, so far as I'm aware, thought of mainly as a way to assist people with disabilities, I think all three could have a tremendous long term impact in the multilingual South. Don Osborn Bisharat.net ------------ This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides more information. To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd For the GKD database, with past messages: http://www.GKDknowledge.org