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Does it matter if it's cooked or not? I guess I wouldn't eat the uncooked kind, but for the English translation I don't see that it's wrong if I don't mention it's not cooked.
Mchele is dry rice grains. Cooked rice is wali. So there is a reason for the distinction, and it does need to be taught. How does the system know you understand the difference between mchele and wali if you just type "rice" for each? You might just think they are synonymous.
Yes, typing cooked or uncooked is a pain, and there is probably a better way they could have handled it. But hey, the annoyance at the memory of having to do so might help the words stick. ;)
They are using words that are in fact not interchangeable. They are doing this because they don't speak good Swahili. I live in Kenya and I know for a fact that some Kenyans don't speak good Swahili for three reasons:
1) Slang is common in poor areas. Slang that mixes Swahili and English is called Sheng.
2) British-education based high schools are very common in Kenya and there is a generation of middle class Kenyans who speak poor Swahili as a result of attending these schools and not formally studying Swahili in the traditional Kenyan 8-4-4 system.
3) Tanzanians rely more on Swahili than Kenyans. In Kenya, business transactions such as contracts are almost always done in English. You will never find a Swahili business contract in Kenya. Here is a link demonstrating how Tanzania relies more on Swahili than Kenya.
Uncooked rice is still rice. I get that they want to emphasize the different words for different kinds of rice, but they're still rice.