Presentation on theme: "Digital Media and the right to language. G lobalization of internet Interconnectedness Access to information Civic participation New global class society."— Presentation transcript:
Digital Media and the right to language
G lobalization of internet Interconnectedness Access to information Civic participation New global class society in English Exclusion: digital divide & language divide Language separates as much as technology
Example of Catalan Spoken in some regions of Spain, mainly Catalonia 6-10 million Catalan speakers Own domain (.cat) since mid-2006, based not on territory but language. Currently around 34,000 registered websites Thousands of blogs Firefox, Facebook, Microsoft OS, Blogger, Gmail, etc. in Catalan Wikipedia in Catalan has 200,000 articles Favourable factors: constant electricity, high internet connectivity, institutional support, radio/tv/print media in Catalan, compulsory education, etc.
Why use Catalan? Everybody who speaks Catalan, also speaks Spanish – a global language spoken by more than 500 million people, so why not use only Spanish? Your language is your identity, its who you are and how you see the world Diversity is the most important index of a truly democratic society Pride for own culture & history and will to preserve it The internet isnt going to be dominated by only 1 language, so why ignore smaller languages?
Example of Bambara (or Bamanankan) Spoken in a few W. African countries, mainly Mali About 6 million speakers, most likely millions more Six months ago there were only a dozen websites solely in Bambara Wikipedia, started 6 months ago, has 258 articles No internet portals or tools in Bambara Keyboard for the Bambara alphabet is not supported, it has to be downloaded from Kasahorow.org (free) or Sil.org (paying)
Why so little online content in African languages? Literacy, esp. internet literacy Often formal education is in non-African languages Sporadic electricity, low internet connectivity Lack of internet tools, tech support in those languages Inferiority complex towards languages like English or French (colonization of the mind) Perceived lack of audience, talking in the dark
Presence of African languages online is increasing More than 2,000 languages in SSAfrica Swahili, with 150 million speakers, has doubled its online presence in the last year. More tools now available, e.g. Google search, Google Translate A critical mass of content is needed before a language becomes mainstream online, then growth is exponential. This critical mass starts with something like blogs (easy to use, immediate publication, etc.) Open source projects Collaborative translation projects
Examples of tools/services Facebook: one of the first websites to adopt collaborative translation for language versions, done by volunteers. Currently partially available in Swahili, Malagasy, Xhosa, Zulu, Somali Windows OS interface: no African language Gmail available in 53 languages: no African language Blogger: same thing; Wordpress 1 or 2. Maneno, based on collaborative translation model, is available in Swahili, Bambara, Lingala, Fula and Zulu. Also, each article can be translated in those languages.
Translation Assistant Based upon Google Translate API Simple. Easy to use for quick words or phrases. Can now translate between 5 of 9 languages on Maneno.
The Linguistic Ripple From blogs Proven with Swahili Can be applied to any African language Once blogs are established, Wikipedia, Facebook, and eventually operating systems happen.