Africa Village Computer Languages

Yes, I once told my idea to a relative and she said I’m just a lone soldier in a field. Meaning that probably no one will be willing to help me. That doesn’t bother me, because I think I can save up enough money in a year to make this possible in at least one village myself, and do not need to depend on snarky programmers or others in the west who are only interested in their own self betterment. God help our selfish planet.

On Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 6:52 PM, H-Net LISTSERV Server (15.5) <[email protected]> wrote:

> Hello,

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> I have recently started a charity project to bring solar panels and laptops to

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> villages in Africa in order to teach them how to earn a living through the internet

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> ( I would like to start in Kenya and was

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> wondering if you had any suggestions how I could accomplish this there, or if you

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> think there would be a need for such developments. I hope to make it to Kenya by

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> the fall of 2010 and am making preliminary arrangements at the moment.

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> Thank you,

You’re welcome!

> Karel Kosman

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> __________________________________

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All subsequent commands have been flushed.

Summary of resource utilization


CPU time:        0.004 sec                Device I/O:        0

Overhead CPU:    0.000 sec                Paging I/O:        0

CPU model:         4-CPU 2.3GHz Quad-Core AMD Opteron Processor 2356 (2M)

Job origin:      [email protected]

< okay, jumped to conclusions and turns out that the above conversation was in fact with a computer and not a person being sarcastic and mimicking a computer. But in a humorous way it does reflect the typical reaction of westerners, who really don’t care much what happens in Africa, or other poor continent that their predecessors exploited and one of the reasons why they can now bask in such great comfort. So what I perceived as sarcasm against my supposed plea for help, was just a computer talking. Sorry mister computer!


Hello Sue,

yes, based on the feedback so far it already occurred to me that this could be a major problem. Even if I were to stay in the village for a year and help them with their English, they would still lack the education to understand many subjects. But who knows. Otherwise maybe the younger population could learn faster, and earn something while programming or through web design. And then eventually translation. I plan to get to Africa in about a year and I’m thinking of starting in Kenya (where there are about 226 languages). Worst case scenario it will be an interesting experience for me. Right now I am stationed in Bulgaria but I tend to move around a bit.

Perhaps the villagers might be more useful for proofreading, in the beginning?


On Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 7:57 PM, Sue wrote:

Dear Karen,

It is feasible, but I think it would be rare to find someone in a village with the tertiary qualifications in both languages, which is what is normally required for written translations. Anyone with that level of education would probably be very busy doing something else.  However we will keep you and your project in mind should we get any requests for African languages.  What country or countries are you working in?


Hello Sue,

well, whenever I’ve been given a proofreading job no one expected me to control every sentence against the original. That’s about as time consuming as translating from scratch. I was thinking from a purely stylistic and grammar point of view. If something seems odd and they need to refer to the original, I can help them with that. Also, US based African translators might loose touch with their native language over time. And languages change. And if something is being translating into African, it is because someone is trying to sell something IN AFRICA, in which case the local native touch could come in handy. Anyway, this is all in the beginning stages. I think that once the internet revolution hits Africa, there will be more trade, and more demand for translations, and perhaps less supply of linguists. Who knows. I will just go there and see what happens.

But good discussing this with you!


On Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 8:57 PM, Sue wrote:

No, Karel – you need equal qualifications to proofread as to translate –  very distressing for a translator to be corrected wrongly by someone who does not know both languages as well as he/she does…  However it is definitely a possibility to be considered for the future.


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