today the release of the new version of the Unicode Common Locale Data
Repository (Unicode CLDR 1.8), providing key building blocks for
software to support the world's languages.
CLDR 1.8 contains data for 186 languages and 159 territories: 501
locales in all. Version 1.8 of the repository contains over 22% more
locale data than the previous release, with over 42,000 new or modified
data items from over 300 different contributors.
For this release, the Unicode Consortium partnered with ANLoc, the
African Network for Localization, a project sponsored by Canada's
International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to help extend modern
computing on the African continent. ANLoc's vision is to empower
Africans to participate in the digital age by enabling their languages
in computers. A sub-project of ANLoc, called Afrigen, focuses on
creating African locales.
The Afrigen-ANLoc project's mission is to create viable locale data for
at least 100 of the over 2000 languages spoken in Africa, and
incorporate the data into Unicode's CLDR project and OpenOffice.org.
Implementation of fundamental locale data within CLDR is a critical step
for providing computer applications that can be localized into these
African languages, thus reaching populations that have never before been
able to use their native languages on computers and mobile phones.
The Afrigen-ANLoc project selected approximately 200 candidate
languages, including all official languages recognized by a national
government and all languages with at least 500,000 native speakers.
Additional languages were incorporated when volunteers stepped forward.
Data was collected through the Afrigen-ANLoc project by native-speaking
volunteers around the world, entered via a web-based utility designed
specifically for this purpose, and then merged into the CLDR repository.
In all, over 150 volunteers gathered locale data for 72 African
languages, with data for 54 of those incorporated into the CLDR 1.8
release. 41 of these languages are completely new to the Unicode CLDR
project while 13 others existed in earlier versions of CLDR and were
enhanced with additional data. These languages are spoken in 26
countries across the entire African continent.
"The partnership with Afrigen has been a huge benefit for us," says John
Emmons, vice-chair of the Unicode CLDR technical committee and lead CLDR
engineer for IBM. "The Afrigen effort has allowed us to bring many new
languages on board that we wouldn't be able to do through our normal
process, while still maintaining the level of quality and consistency
that we require for every language."
For more information about Unicode CLDR 1.8, see
The Afrigen-ANLoc data collection tool was developed by Louise
Berthilson of IT46 (http://www.it46.se), and the project is managed by
Martin Benjamin, director of Kamusi Project International
(http://kamusi.org). For more information about the African Network for
Localization, see http://www.africanlocalisation.net. For more
information about the Afrigen-ANLoc project, see
http://www.it46.se/afrigen. For more information about IDRC, see
About the Unicode Consortium
The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization founded to develop,
extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard and related globalization
The membership of the consortium represents a broad spectrum of
corporations and organizations in the computer and information
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Monotype Imaging, Oracle, The Society for Natural Language Technology
Research, SAP, Sybase, The University of California (Berkeley), The
University of California (Santa Cruz), Yahoo!, plus well over a hundred
Associate, Liaison, and Individual members.
For more information, please contact the Unicode Consortium.
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