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Khmer Software Initiative in cambodia

Cambodians -- with the help of Open Institute -- translated applications such as word processing, e-mail, spreadsheets and an Internet browser into Khmer using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). FOSS -- which allows for translation, adaptation, modification and free distribution -- became the backbone of the programming process. And since power consumption is an important consideration in Cambodia, FOSS's low power consumption was crucial for sustainability.

During its first year of operation, 2004, Open Institute translated computer applications into the Khmer language. Project workers developed and standardized Khmer scripts and fonts, designed and manufactured keyboards and printed manuals in Khmer for the applications. Translation proved to be a challenge because the Khmer language lacks the equivalent for many words we use in the English language. For example, "They have a word for ‘elder sibling' and a word for ‘younger sibling' but no word for ‘brother,'" Solá explained. The incompatibilities necessitated the use of some English words for clarification purposes.

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