Microsoft will release the Windows 7 operating system in 10 African languages in 2011, five of which are South African official languages.
The company will make available freely downloadable language interface packs for people who prefer to access programs such as Microsoft Office 2007, Windows Vista and XP in their home languages.
Vis Naidoo, of Microsoft SA, said studies shown that people learnt better in their mother tongues.
Providing access to computer technology in local languages would open new worlds for education and economic participation to millions, he added.
The language packs would be available in Afrikaans, Sotho, Xhosa, Zulu and Tswana as well as Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba in Nigeria, Swahili in Kenya and Amharic in Ethiopia.
Microsoft translation teams have started translating Windows 7 and the upcoming Office 2010 productivity suite into these languages.