Communities developing resources and competencies for using their languages
Foundational understanding for language development work of all kinds
Publications, fonts and computer tools for language development, translation and research
SIL offers training in disciplines relevant to sustainable language development.
7,105 languages are spoken or signed. CLICK for map of world languages & regional websites.
SIL's dedication to language development past and present
SIL's Language Technology team supports language development by providing specialized software and fonts. The department also provides support and training for its software applications.
Software development staff work with software users to improve software available for language development activities (for example, language and culture research, literacy materials or dictionary development). In response to user feedback, staff might design a new software program, such as SayMore or Bloom, work on feature enhancement, or recommend a different existing software product that better supports the user’s needs. Most of the recently-developed software applications offer a user interface with different language options, for example FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx) can be used in French, Chinese, Spanish and 8 other languages.
The team is also involved with designing and developing standards to allow smooth integration between software products. This includes submitting proposals for new characters needed for local languages to the industry-wide Unicode character encoding standard, and serving on other international standards committees.
One part of the Language Technology team - the Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI) - is exclusively dedicated to meeting script-related needs. The goal is to enable language communities to use their preferred writing system on computers without technical barriers. To this end, the team provides help, undertakes research and develops solutions to support language development, especially for complex scripts including extended Roman and Cyrillic. They design fonts which include new characters, or which specifically support language development activities. For example, the Andika font is specially designed for literacy.
This team promotes worldwide collaboration through ScriptSource, a dynamic, collaborative reference to the writing systems of the world, with detailed information on scripts, characters, languages - and the remaining needs for supporting them in the computing realm.
Visit Resources to find and download SIL's language software, fonts and font-related technologies.