Universal Communicator Promises Increased Web Access

While no international businessman can manage without English, what is often regarded -- wrongly -- as a world language is still understood by only one person in four. That is a serious handicap for non-speakers and represents a massive loss of e-commerce orders for industry in the U.S. and elsewhere. Now a solution is close thanks to the development of an electronic language that acts as an Internet intermediary between different languages. It allows people to use their mother tongue to communicate worldwide and to get a response the same way. Researchers at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies in Tokyo have developed software that translates text into and from what they call Universal Networking Language (UNL). Starting in April, UNL translations will be available for Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. When six more languages are ready at the end of the year 75% of the world population will be covered. By 2006 all the languages spoken in UN countries will be embraced. In the future, UNL resources will shortly be free to anyone who joins the UNL Society.

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