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#2391: Creole Language Computer Software Development Update: from Marilyn Mason
<< What would be very useful for those of us who are semi-literate in Kreyol
is a Microsoft Word dictionary and spell-checker in the language. Any
possibility that this could happen? >>
Let me try to respond.
Yes, there is no technical reason why there could not be a user-friendly,
fully functional software dictionary / spellchecker for Haitian Creole.
But such an undertaking would require (not necessarily in their order of
importance): time, personnel, money, leadership, coordination, and an
With regard to the element of time, I would like to quote MIT2's (Mason
Integrated Technologies Ltd's) Vice President of Development:
<< A Kreyol spell-checker for MS Word is one of several of MIT2's planned
objectives for new products and applications.
However, the development of an excellent, robust and accurate spell-checker
is a very time-consuming project, requiring at least 5+ person years of work,
as confirmed by conversations with Research & Development specialists on
spell-checkers for other languages. Some efforts in the past have been made
to create spell-checkers for Kreyol, but they are very inadequate.
Quality products = significant time investment.
This is the case for other MIT2 products. The reason why they are completely
functional and user-friendly is because we have spent years working on them.
We do not believe in creating rapid-development versions that shortcut
It will be necessary to obtain additional capital and other funding in order
to hire more employees and work at producing and completing a spell-checker
and other quality products. >>
As CEO of MIT2, I'd like to add the following:
Companies (such as Microsoft) already large and wealthy enough to undertake
such a project HAVE NOT DONE SO and WILL NOT DO SO because they can't
envision enough return on investment.
Yet, a small company like Mason Integrated Technologies Ltd WANTS TO DO SO
and IS COMMITTED TO DO SO but lacks the financial resources.
I do not yet despair because our very existence is bringing about a change to
the "status quo".
At great sacrifice (working for decades without remuneration) I have formed
MIT2, and MIT2 is now making waves at a number of different interfaces [see
my Update Report (http://hometown.aol.com/mit2usa/Update2-2000.htm)].
By successfully creating 2 user-friendly, functional software tools for
Haitian Creole and demonstrating that there is a market for such products, we
are now creating a demand for even more products such as spellcheckers,
Having taken the risks, having worked at this for more than 2 decades, we are
now in the process of assembling specialists to undertake such R&D efforts on
behalf of Haitian Creole and other Creoles and Pidgins.
Our small staff has the combined practical experience of over 5 decades in
translation, publication, human language technology innovation, and software
programming. This small company has a solid technical background, expert
linguistic knowledge, and cultural know-how for adapting applications to
target populations. MIT2 people know this field well, in aspects covering
software development of language systems, language and translation marketing,
language database collection and management, data copyright, terminology
databases, and business development in the authoring and translation sectors.
MIT2 employees have been involved in the practical aspects of authoring,
technical writing, translation, document publications, and software
And MIT2 is not "resting on its laurels". It is aggressively recruiting the
very specialists necessary to translate this goal into a reality.
The Program Director of a major Grant Funding Agency agrees that "the only
thing holding us back is $$$".
Additional capital investment (see
http://hometown.aol.com/mit2usa/Investing.html) is being sought in order for
MIT2 to be able to hire the necessary specialists (see
http://hometown.aol.com/mit2usa/JobOpps.html) to help us produce more types
of systems and applications.
MIT2's goal is to help writers, authors, translators, and all other people
working with Creole-language texts to be accurate, consistent, and productive
in their tasks.
IF enough people would get behind this initiative (already decades in the
making and positioning), these tools WOULD exist.
My CONCERN is that everybody wants these tools but does not necessarily want
to finance their creation.
My FEAR is that, in spite of all these efforts and risks, 5 years from now
Haitians and Haiti advocates may still be saying, "If only we had a good
Marilyn Mason, President
Mason Integrated Technologies Ltd
P.O. Box 181015
Boston, MA 02118 USA
(617) 247-8885 (office & answering machine)
(617) 262-8923 (FAX)
Mason Integrated Technologies Ltd Home Page:
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