[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Tetum-translators] Linux in Tétum

From: Peter Gossner
Subject: Re: [Tetum-translators] Linux in Tétum
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 10:54:22 +1030

On Tue, 25 Nov 2003 09:41:08 -0300  Christian Maciel de Britto
<address@hidden> wrote:
>Hi Peter,
>Thanks for your reply. I'm planning to go to East Timor on next year. I
> work with computers and I think that Linux is a great solution to be 
>used to help poor countries grow. I know that Brazilian Portuguese is 
>reckognized as oficial language but Tétum is a native one, so in this 
>way I think that Linux using Tétum language will be strategic to be
>used by that people.... I'm planning to develop a Digital Inclusion
>program and spread Open Software througth that country, what do you
>think about it?
>Christian Britto
<note> This message cross posted without permission :) </note>

Hi Christan,
Your Objectives are fantastic !
happy to help if I can..

I am based in Adelaide , 
I had the great fortune to be able to spend a few weeks in Dilli earlier
this year. 

There are a few thoughts to take on board..

1/ Timor Leste is not a signatory to the Bern convention.. Therefore
they can get almost any software for about $US 5 / disc .. :)

2/ The average income is VERY low (less than $US 1 a day)
.. Not many private citizens have access to a Computer yet.

3/ Outside of Dilli there is very little access to the Internet or
computers generally.. (though we are working on it)
Inside of Dilli the access costs are too high for most people to use it
regularly.  The internet Cafes (both of them :) are mostly used by
"mali"..(foreigners like us)

4/ Languages:
The official language of government is EUROPEAN Portuguese..
I myself witnessed some confusion caused between Brazilian and
European Portuguese translations... 

Most people _don't_ speak Portuguese .. Many / most government officials
do but the general population don't.

Bahasa Indonesian is commonly spoken and of course Tetum.

As you speak Portuguese you should have little problem with Tetum (i
think) as it is a contact language developed by the Portuguese and the
local indigenous population as a language of trade. Unfortunately there
is no definitive version of Tetum either... There are quite a few

Tetum has  a very limited scope in regard to technology.

(I do not speak Tetum beyond "bondia' )

However all that said there would be MANY happy people if we could get
an Interface and the most used applications translated to tetum..
The people I was working with were very keen to have this happen..

By choice they configure their desktops into US English (or sometimes
Portuguese) .. The official approach is to use Portuguese whenever there
is not a word for the same in Tetum..  I think they would be happy with
that OR English.. 
That is:  REAL people there use English for the Interface and write in
Tetum or Bahasa Indonesian.. Most official correspondence has to be
translated back and forward to / from Portuguese.

Now as it happens I speak only English (Australians are an ignorant lot
:) So I will be translating using US English as default and Tetum where
I can find a sensible translation..

I am finding it very difficult to "translate" as I can only map words
not really fluent in Tetum.  (so there will be lots to fix with my

Linux is already available in both Euro. Port. and Brazilian :)
(as you no doubt know)

There are a couple of other projects running and in planning to get
cheap (accessible) machines into Timor Leste and even a project (or two)
to get wireless access set up nation wide... 
These are moving slowly as we are only volunteers and only have so much
The main impediment is really things like import duties and ministries.

I can send more details  if you like but I guess the thing is to not
wait... or count on other projects.

I suggest you join the Timor IT  list as well ..

There are people there with broad skills and much in the way of
experience, they can give you a better and deeper overview than I can.
Lev (who runs that list) has transcribed the best ONline resource in
existence for Tetum:


I will add it to the Tetum GNU site once I have spell checked it etc..
It is by far better than any other online resource about.

(say by end of this weekend .. I will post links)
I wrote some reports about my "holidays" in Timor ..


(should find them)

They may give you a feel for how it is there ..

If you have a choice the most valuable place to work would be outside of
Dili (just my opinion) .. things like electricity get very
scarce ...

It's a great country with great people .. 


>Peter Gossner escreveu:
>>On Fri, 21 Nov 2003 14:58:14 -0300  "Christian" <address@hidden>
>>>Please I'm looking for Linux users that like to see Linux Os in
>>>Christian Britto
>>Hi Christian,
>>You have found some people who would like to see just that happen.
>>This list is not very active.. It's really here for the future.
>>I will be attempting to do a basic interface translation per week from
>>this point on.
>>There is of course LOTs to do..
>>What are your thoughts.. ?
>Christian Britto
>YWAM Youth With a Mission - BRAZIL
>JOCUM Jovens Com Uma Missão - BRASIL

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]