Learning a second language is generally regarded as a sign of culture, learning and prestige. Yet despite this, at least in the English-speaking world, the number of multilingual persons in the general population is really rather low. As the benefits of learning a new tongue are felt not only by the pupil, but the economy at large, it is understandably a priority for many governments to give their citizenry a bit of a push.
As a multi-national employer, Microsoft has a vested interested in furthering the efficiency of communication between its various employees. To this end, Chekov, Universal Shaping Engine and Translator Hub are included in Windows 10. These are powerful tools that allow users to learn with more efficiency than ever before, taking their learning into their own hands.
This support doesn't end here however, for there are a number of projects that Redmond supports which also work towards the same ends. The Matuto: Literacy for Life Partnership is one of these, enabling listeners from across the globe to further their literacy skills in the language of their choice. The Chekov tool works much to the same end, utilizing a dynamic E-book instead.
It isn't only 'living' languages that are supported, but 'dying' languages too. Given that languages have, recorded within them, a whole culture's worth of history and meaning, their preservation is something of a priority for those who wish to study the past. Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi are supported by Microsoft Translator Hub, allowing users to work in these languages online, promoting an ailing segment of society further.
Microsoft is also releasing the Universal Shaping Engine, a script-rendering technology which allows Windows 10 to correctly display all the different writing systems of the world, be they Kanji, Roman or otherwise. This allows users to further engage with the web on their own terms.
Technology provides myriad new means by which to improve one's skills, as such, as the Romans said, "Carpe Diem!"
Are you learning another language? Let us know in the comments below.