Osage Nation: Osage Nation visits Google headquarters and Unicode Conference. “Osage Language Master Language Teacher Mongrain Lookout met with tech engineers in late October to talk about the revitalization of the Osage language for Osages everywhere. According to Lookout and the Osage Language Department Webmaster Mark Pearson, strides gained by other non-English languages are helping the Osage language move faster towards full mobile access. Just this week, an unreleased version of the first Osage language app became available Apple and Android users. The app features Unicode developed for the Osage language orthography. This first step is huge for language revitalization and the Osage Nation is already working on developing keyboards and predictive text for new speakers who will want more after using the language app. ”
CBC: A talking online Mi’kmaq dictionary that helps preserve the language. “Unsure how to say “Hello” or “Thank you” in Mi’kmaq, never mind something more complex? There’s an online resource where you can hear three different Mi’kmaq speakers pronounce nearly 4,000 words, in some cases including their regional variants.”
The University of Texas at Austin: Welcome to the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA). “Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 9, 2017, marks the public launch of the newly migrated and updated Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America. AILLA is a digital language archive of recordings, texts, and other multimedia materials in and about the indigenous languages of Latin America. AILLA’s mission is to preserve these materials and make them available to Indigenous Peoples, researchers, and other friends of these languages now and for generations to come. The look and feel of this new site has been updated, and some user functionality has been added, including the ability to perform a keyword search across all collections, as well as the ability to stream and view some media files without having to download them first. Access to AILLA and its resources is always free of charge.”
Johns Hopkins: Johns Hopkins scientists to build machine translation system for obscure languages. “A team of computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University has won a $10.7 million grant from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to create an information retrieval and translation system for languages that are not widely used around the world. Philipp Koehn, a computer science professor in JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering, is leading a group of 20 professors, research scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and doctoral students in an effort to build a system that can respond to inquiries typed in English based on documents written in so-called ‘low resource’ languages, which means there is relatively little written material in these languages.”
PRNewswire: Tiny Archipelago Creates Faroe Islands Translate to Petition Google Translate to Share Their Language (PRESS RELEASE). “Creating their very own version of the online translation service, with the help of locals who will translate live by video, Faroe Islands Translate will provide a free online service for those visiting the destination or, in fact, anyone around the world curious to learn a little of this unusual language…. By visiting the new website, and typing the words to be translated into the Faroe Islands Translate search box, the translation will be made by a local volunteer like Guðrun. A video with the translation will be sent back so that people will not only be able to learn the words in Faroese but also see a local speaking the language.” That is really cool. The site already has tons of videos of people speaking Faroese phrases.
TechCrunch: Google’s Airpods competitor do real-time language translation. “One of the surprises we got today from Google’s hardware event were a pair of bluetooth headphones called Pixel Buds. They’re wired behind the neck but they’re every bit a competitor to Apple’s AirPods. They’re $159, they’re available in November and they’ll let you understand 40 different languages. Seriously.”
New-to-me: Israel National News: Epic quest to document ‘miracle’ of Hebrew language. “Called the Historical Dictionary Project at Israel’s Academy of the Hebrew Language, it will serve as an invaluable resource for scholars, writers and linguists. But it will also act as an anchor for Hebrew, the ancient language revived in spoken form in the 19th century after some 1,700 years. Work completed so far is already available to the public online.” More information about the project is available at http://en.hebrew-academy.org.il/historical-dictionary-project/ .