By Kemo Cham – Internet users in Senegal, Gambia and nearby countries can now do their research in Wollof with the launch of a Wolof Google web search interface.
Wollof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal as the second official language after French. It is also spoken widely in neighboring Gambia, mainly in the urban centers, and also in Mauritania.
According to the Senegalese Press Agency (APS), the newly launched search interface, dubbed ‘Gëstu ko ci Google’ (meaning check it out on Google), is set out to democratize research on the web for internet users knowledgeable in Wollof.
Through its initiative Google – in – Your Language (GIYL), which offers volunteers passionate about any language and anxious to promote its online presence, tools to translate the Google interface in that language.
APS cited a press release announcing the technological breakthrough.
Experts and students at the Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, in the North-Eastern end of Senegal, the second oldest university in the country, reportedly undertook the translation work in partnership with Google, the statement said. It added that as part of its mission in Africa, Google is determined to explore GIYL to allow such for multiple other languages used by millions of Africans.
“Searching the Internet had mainly been reserved for the literate in French or English, now most of other literate populations can also search. And in the case of Senegal, ‘Gëstu ko ci Google’ will enable the democratization of research on the net,” the statement said.