to Mr William Gates III, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation
ETF BELGRADE ALUMNI AND FRIENDS ASSOCIATION
A CALIFORNIA NONPROFIT PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION
5280 Canyon Crest Drive, San Ramon, CA 94583
November 19, 2002
Mr William Gates III, Chairman
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Dear Mr. Gates,
We are U.S. based nonprofit organization of alumni of the School of Electrical
Engineering in Belgrade, Yugoslavia - Serbia.
We have about 150 members, some of them are in management positions in
the largest Information Technology companies and some are professors at
prestigious universities in this country.
We are writing this letter to you, since we need your help in resolving
a problem in our old country.
The Microsoft Corporation has generously offered to help with the computer
education in Serbia by translating to the Serbian language
Windows operating system and Office programs. However, this project is
led by the Microsoft regional office in another country, Slovenia. Because
of the different ethnic background and lack of sensitivity, the regional
office is trying to do translation in the Roman instead of the Serbian
Cyrillic script. This will create resentment in many of future Microsoft
Serbian customers and diminish the effect of initial Microsoft good intentions.
Like many other small European nations the Serbian people would like to
keep their culture, as much as possible. The Serbian language and Cyrillic
script are the most important of their cultural characteristics.
The Serbian Cyrillic script has an advantage that many other, more advanced
languages do not have. It is a fully phonetic script. For about two hundred
years the Serbs have the luxury of a phonetic script, which the late George
Bernard Shaw unsuccessfully tried to promote in English. Every sound in
the language has its equivalent letter in the script. Imagine the language
without the need for spelling. Imagine how easier it is to schoolchildren
to learn to read and write.
According to the latest information available to us, the Serbian government
has offered to provide its resources and help during
translation into the Cyrillic script. Thus, a good part of cost incurred
by Microsoft will be compensated.
We urge you to appeal to the Microsoft Regional Office in Ljubljana, Slovenia
to change its initial decision and translate Microsoft programs to the
Serbian Cyrillic script.
Thank you very much for your help.
Prof. Dr. Jasmina Vujic, President
Dr. Sveta Djurich, Secretary
D. Mita Postich, Treasurer
// Projekat Rastko / Filologija
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