Le Havre was the capital of Pulaagu on July 4, 2012, a memorable day of meeting and exchange around the new browser Firefox in Fulah language. This meeting was placed under the double sign of Mozilla event and the commemoration of the anniversary of PULAAGU.COM website. This presentation of Firefox in Fulah language was organized by the Fulah team leader, PULAAGU chairman and new Mozilla representative Ibrahima Sarr.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the lecture of the American John Hames, researcher and Fulah language specialist, who just joined the Firefox team. Several organizations, many from the Paris region were represented. The association KJPF (Pulaar Fulfulde Kawtal Janngooɓe) was represented by Diaalo Samba Seck; “JAAYRE” association by Ibrahima Kane said KATANTE LEÑOL; JAKKAA FULBE by Abu Kante. We had the honor to welcome the artist, storyteller, singer and “hoddu” player Daouda Dièye, who came to bring a touch of ambience and support for the language team.
Firstly, it is Diaalo Seck, from Mantes-La-Jolie who addressed the audience to present the event. The floor was then given to Ibrahima Sarr, Pulaagu chairman and leader of the Firefox localization team. Ibrahima Sarr thanked the guests who braved the Ramadan to attend this meeting. It was not easy to organize an event during this period but John Hames was going back home to the United States the next week, which prevented any delay of the event as he made the trip to Havre especially for this day. Ibrahima Sarr has also praised the talent, mastery and generosity with which John Hames speaks beautiful and flawless Fulah for the greatest pride and pleasure of the attendees.
Large official Mozilla banners and posters were deployed in the meeting room and entrance. This is an official Mozilla event since Ibrahima Sarr was recently appointed representative.
PULAAGU.COM and JAKKAA FULBE banners as co-organizers or guest associations were also visible on the walls of the room located in the basement of the Tower Reservoir in Le Havre.
In his speech, Mozilla Rep Ibrahima Sarr stressed the importance of new technologies for the development of our African languages, especially the Fulah language which is spoken natively in twenty countries in Africa alone. The digitization of Fulah, he noted “is not an end in itself but a tool for human development and social progress for speakers of our language”. “For this reason”, he said that “in the last 20 years, we have undertaken to make essential tools available to the Fulah people for early computerization i.e. creating fonts (1996) to display Fulah characters, virtual keyboards to ease input (2001-2012) and recently the word processor Abiword, the collaborative translation server Pootle and today, we’re presenting one of our greatest achievements: the world famous browser Firefox. “
Ibrahima Sarr traced the historical path that led to the localization of Firefox in Fulah, from the beginning with the help of ANLOC (African Network for Localization) until the release of the final version of Firefox earlier this summer. Then he drew up a list of compelling advantages of using Firefox in Fulah including the need for a browser that can be used by a people who can read and write their mother tongue only. Ibrahima Kane, from JAAYRE association is a living example of people who have learned reading and writing Fulah informally as an adult and is now a prominent writer, poet. “And most importantly”, he said, “the software in European languages are more difficult to understand for the uninitiated. In any case, it is a major breakthrough for the Fulah language especially since Mozilla is not just developing browsers but all the web technologies of the future!”.
Fulah should be able to seize this opportunity to use these Open Source technologies, it will much beneficial to learning, community development and acquiring knowledge but also for digitizing community resources and heritage regardless the region we live.
In this perspective, Ibrahima Sarr announced a (potential) “revolution” for Fulah. In fact, Mozilla will launch in 2013 its own operating system for smartphones called Firefox OS (codenamed “Boot to Gecko”). This operating system will be available in non-proprietary Open Source but also will most likely be available for localization in Fulah. Yes a smartphone “speaking” Fulah is no longer a pipe dream but will hopefully be a wonderful reality in the very near future!
There is also, according to Ibrahima Sarr, a multitude of innovative technologies that Mozilla is currently developing a freer, more open web and accessible to all! Among these technologies, Mozilla Webmaker, PopCorn, WebFWD, Big Blue Button, School of Webcraft projects will probably be used in the development of our languages.
Upcoming events around Mozilla products will be organized in the form of technical workshops to train, organize and carry on the localization to provide technical support to users of the Fulah version of Firefox.
FLULA LOCALIZATION TEAM