Microsoft Teams With Publishers To Create World’s First Global Dictionary

Microsoft Corp. is working with St. Martin’s Press, Bloomsbury Publishing and Pan Macmillan Australia to publish an
English dictionary derived from a single database of world English.


The Encarta World English Dictionary is scheduled to be published simultaneously in
electronic and print forms, in British and American editions, in August
1999.


“This will be the dictionary of tomorrow,” said Robbie Bach, VP of the learning, entertainment and productivity division, Microsoft. “We
are committed to applying technology to build projects that enhance and
improve people’s ability to learn and communicate.


“As recently as five
years ago, a project of this sort could not have been completed digitally
on a worldwide scale. We are delighted to be working with
Bloomsbury, St. Martin’s and our other co-publishers on this exciting
long-term project.”


Microsoft and its partners in the venture said that the new dictionary is
just the beginning of a long-term relationship, and that the companies will
go on to develop other print and electronic reference works.


Two hundred and fifty lexicographers and expert advisers in ten
countries have been working to create the Encarta World English
Dictionary. It has over three million words of text and, according to the
publishers, “reflects the use of English as the language of the world, the
language in which most of the people of the world communicate and in
which over 80 percent of the world’s computer-based communication
takes place.”


Commercial success for the project seems virtually assured, with a
planned print run of 500,000 copies and the benefit of Microsoft’s
branding. It will the first time that Microsoft has used the Encarta name
on a print product, having licensed more than twenty million copies of
the Encarta Encyclopedia on CD-ROM worldwide since 1993.


“The project is a major development for
Bloomsbury and underpins the strategic growth of our reference division
into an international content provider for print and electronic media,” said Nigel Newton, chairman and CEO of Bloomsbury.


Among the supporting statistics issued by Microsoft is the information
that 375 million people speak English as their first language, a further
375 million people speak it as their second language, and by the year
2000 over one billion people will be learning English.

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