On International Mother Language Day the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN agencies participate in events that promote linguistic and cultural diversity. They also encourage people to maintain their knowledge of their mother language while learning and using more than one language. Governments and non-governmental organizations may use the day to announce policies to encourage language learning and support. You can visit http://www.internationalmotherlanguageday.com/ to know about worldwide #IMLD events.

The Apache OpenOffice project is proud to help commemorate International Mother Language Day on February 21.  Read more about why this day is important, how OpenOffice supports linguistic diversity, and how you can help.

Why February 21 was chosen?  February 21st was declared as International Mother Language Day (IMLD) by UNESCO.   IMLD originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of Dhaka university students were killed by the Pakistani police and army in Dhaka during the Bengali Language Movement. This is the only event where people gave their lives to preserve the independence of using their mother language. To remember them there is a monument named Language Martyr's Monument (Shahid Minar) in Dhaka University, Bangladesh. Every year more than a million people give flowers there. This is a big event in Bangladesh. Many foreigners visit Bangladesh just to experience the way the Bangladeshi people give respect to those brave hearts. Every town of Bangladesh has a Language Martyr's Monument, where local people give flowers.  A Language Martyr's Monument is also built in Ikebukoro park of Tokyo, Japan. There are also Language Martyr's Monument in USA, UK, Italy and many other countries. Please think about your Mother Language not only on February 21 but also on other days.

The Apache OpenOffice project strongly supports International Mother Language Day and the cause of language diversity.  Our Public Service Mission includes this section on "Support for Linguistic and Cultural Diversity":

There are over 6,000 languages in the world, but unless the language is associated
with a G20 economic superpower, commercial vendors tend to ignore it. The
OpenOffice community has a long standing tradition of supporting a large number
of languages, including languages used by smaller populations, minority languages,
endangered languages, etc.   By supporting languages that would
not otherwise be supported we help reduce "digital exclusion" and promote
development, local education and administration.

Our most recent release of Apache OpenOffice, version 4.0.1, supported 32 languages, including Basque, 

Serbian Cyrillic,
Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese,
Turkish, Vietnamese, Asturian, Czech, Dutch, British English, American English, Scottish Gaelic, Hungarian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Tamil.

Our 4.1 release, expected to be available in beta form soon, will include several new translations, including Hindi, Bulgarian, Kazakh, Danish, Norwegian and Thai.

Although these translations are all done by community volunteers we aim for professional quality and only release support for a language when the UI is 100% translated.  We have many translations-in-progress which might also make it into 4.1, depending on their progress towards completion.  For example: Uyghur (97% complete), Hebrew (96% complete), Indonesian (95% complete,) Icelandic (95% complete), Catalan (95% complete), Arabic (94% complete), Ukrainian (84% complete) and so on.  Altogether we have support (complete or in-progress) for 111 languages.

If you would like to learn more about our localization process or to volunteer to help translate Apache OpenOffice into your mother tongue, you can read more on our "Introduction to Localization" web page.