Microsoft, the global IT leader, has come to the rescue of those who find it difficult to work on a computer in English, launching Sinhala and Tamil language versions of its newest packages.
Last week it launched Microsoft Windows Vistas and Microsoft Office 2007 in Sinhala -a Language Interface Pack (LIP) with over one million words and phrases translated so that user interfaces such as drop down menus, help files are in Sinhala.
Picture shows the first copy of the new local language interface software jointly developed by Microsoft and ICTA being presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. From left: President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Microsoft Sri Lanka Country Manager Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, ICTA Chairman Professor P. W. Epasinghe, Microsoft Sri Lanka Enterprise Director Channa de Silva, ICTA's Chief Operating Officer Reshan Dewapura, President's Secretary Lalith Weerathunga and ICTA's Director Jayantha Fernando.
Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka told the Sunday Times FT that the same LIP is also available in Tamil.
At a ceremony in Colombo last week, Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology along with Prof P. W. Epasinghe, Acting Chairman, Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA) launched the two products.
Prof. Vitharana said that they are living in a competitive world and for them to progress they have to shift to knowledge-based learning with information technology. They have to get that knowledge as it changes every moment.
He said that the Sinhala version of Microsoft Windows is a giant step forward to taking IT to the rural folks contributing to socio-economic development in the country. He emphasized that the best advantages of IT could be obtained with the knowledge of English.
Mr Wijeratne said that Microsoft put in a tremendous amount of work in the US and in Sri Lanka to bring in the Microsoft Sinhala version.
He said that they have been doing a lot of work for the IT development in the country and the Sinhala and Tamil versions were issued free of charge. He said that all their software were given to local universities free of charge.
He said that the Windows Sinhala version is a joint project of Microsoft, ICTA, The University of Colombo and Science Lanka Pvt Ltd.
He said that 10,000 original copies of this Sinhala version would be issued free of charge and the application is also available on-line at no cost.