FrontlineSMS now in world’s key languages

Launched in June this year in English and Swahili, developers behind FrontlineSMS version 2 say the platform is being translated into some of the world’s major languages.

The two languages are a drop in the ocean to fulfilling their mission of using both the SMS and Web-based software to lower barriers to positive social change as the world’s population hits 7 billion, according to Laura Walker-Hudson, the FrontlineSMS CEO.

FrontlineSMS also wanted to cover top languages spoken by the majority of the world’s Internet population.

“For FrontlineSMS to have impact, it had to be in people’s native languages,” Hudson

She adds that they gave first priority to French, Spanish and Arabic while Mandarin and Russian were given second, as they would draw more users and other languages on board.

“However we’re looking for speakers of all languages to contribute translations in their native tongue,” she explained.

The French translation of the open source software is complete.

Silantoi Kisoso, the Community Support Manager at FrontlineSMS, says theSpanish and Arabic translations are in progress, and “eventually into every other language one can think of.”

However more volunteers can still join the team.

Kisoso told HumanIPO that at the moment they have volunteers for French, Spanish, Indonesian, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese and Thai and German.

“We currently have French done but we will share it with other french translators so they may proofread it, We are still looking for translators for Russian and Mandarin,” Kisoso said.

The volunteers translators are working with a team of FrontlineSMS:Heroes – made up of volunteer coders, testers, analysts and designers from across the world who freely offer their time and skills to build the project without demand for compensation.

“I send them the files with instruction on how to move forward with the translation and they do it, we collaborate online and when they are done, we feature them on our website.

“It’s great to see how people have been inspired to help, it’s really amazing. This project couldn’t take off without them, we are ever so grateful to the volunteers,” Kisoso said.

FrontlineSMS uses mobile technology to promote positive social change across the world. The software breaks communication barriers faced by grassroots non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developing countries by using online and offline text messaging system.

FrontlineSMS software can be used on computers and mobile phones to enable instantaneous 2-way communication to large populations. The software drives on its simplicity and affordability allowing users to send bulk SMS messages at a cost of one SMS.

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