January 31, 2012

Cherokee Nation's translation department

Cherokee Translators: Translation specialist set on preserving Cherokee language

By Will ChavezCherokee speaker and translator John Ross is focused and determined to do his part in preserving the Cherokee language.

Ross, 56, originally of the Greasy Community in Adair County, is one of six translation specialists in the Cherokee Nation’s translation department where documents, signs, books and other printed items are translated from English into Cherokee.

Ross said his main task is translating three books a month for Cherokee Immersion School students. “That’s our priority. Then we work with all the departments in the Cherokee Nation. We translate words and phrases, and we do about 30 translations a month.”

The department also translates three to four articles from English into Cherokee for the Cherokee Phoenix each month, and coordinates the Cherokee language proficiency test for employees wanting to be recognized for their language knowledge. He said about 100 employees have taken the proficiency test.
Below:  Translation specialist John Ross translates a document from English to Cherokee. Ross and five other translation specialists translate documents and create materials for the tribe’s immersion school." (Will Chavez/Cherokee Phoenix)

January 19, 2012

Native languages for class credit

Native American Languages Could Count For Class Credit

By Carol BerryGoodbye, French and German. Hello, Dine, Lakota and other Native American languages—with some qualifications.

Under a proposed new program in Colorado, European and Asian tongues would remain options for foreign language credit in high school, but Native languages from federally recognized tribes could also be offered for that purpose.

The plan is described in a bill filed January 13 for submission to the Colorado General Assembly by Sen. Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora), a member of the Comanche Nation, and co-sponsor Rep. J. Paul Brown (R-Ignacio).

Space is carved out in the proposal for teachers to obtain authorization for Native American language teaching without being required to complete a teacher preparation program or to have a baccalaureate degree, Williams said. The Colorado Board of Education would establish criteria for the authorization.

January 13, 2012

Ojibwe documentary wins Emmy

Native Language Documentary Emmy Tours Participating SchoolsLast September, First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language, a documentary funded through Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment, was awarded a MidWest Regional Emmy for Artistic Excellence in the Documentary-Cultural category.

The golden statuette recently visited one of the many organizations featured in the one-hour film, the Niigaane Ojibwemowin Immersion School on the Leech Lake Reservation near Bena, Minnesota.

“Niigaane kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms participated in the film during late spring of 2010,” said Leslie Harper, the school’s director. “At Niigaane, all academic and social content is taught through the medium of Ojibwe language. In this way, the Leech Lake communities hope to reclaim the Ojibwe language as a vital, necessary language for the coming generations. In order to revitalize and maintain a language, it must be spoken and used by all generations in a community.”

The Emmy is currently on a “Miigwech Tour” to all of the sites that participated in the film. First stop was the Niigaane school, where Harper said the Niigaane students took care of the award and “talked about the importance of our language in today’s world.” The award was at Niigaane until January 6.
Below:  "Niigaane Ojibwemowin Immersion School is located on the Leech Lake Reservation near Bena, Minnesota."

January 10, 2012

Learning languages by Web translation

One Man Aims to Translate the Web Into Every Major LanguageHow is one man going to get 100 million people to translate the web into every major language for free? According to his January 8 post on CNN.com he is giving them something in return.

Luis von Ahn, the founder and former CEO of ReCAPTCHA, Inc., and an associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, recently introduced the world to his newest project—Duolingo, where web users can “learn a language for free, and simultaneously translate the Web.”
And:Von Ahn took this another step when he asked one of his graduate students how he could get 100 million people translating the web for free. Because more than five million of us have spent more than $500 for language learning software, we want to learn.

This is where Duolingo comes in. Users are “learning by doing,” von Ahn says in the video. The site gives beginners simple sentences in whatever language they want to learn, and as the user translates them they learn what the words mean and are subsequently given more advanced phrases to translate.

“The crazy thing about this method is it actually, really works,” he says. “People really can learn a language with it and they learn it about as well as the leading language software.”

January 09, 2012

Inuktitut iPad app

New Inuit language app makes learning fun for little ones

Educational tool available in Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun and English.

By Sarah Rogers
Young Inuit children are growing up with fast-evolving technology, but some parents fear their traditional language skills just can’t keep up.

That’s what inspired one Iqaluit father to create an educational online game and application software for children in the Inuit language.
And:The Inuit-language page presents a list of syllabics alongside Arctic animals. When the user clicks or touches the fish image, they’ll hear the word iqaluk, and then must spell it out using the listed syllabics.

Successful spellers then move onto a page where they can colour in the image they’ve spelled.
Below:  "Iqaluit filmmaker Qajaaq Ellsworth’s new app and educational game, Iliarnnarnaqsivuq, or Time for School, is designed to encourage learning among Inuit youngsters. Users choose an avatar, like the ones pictured here, to walk through a day at school, starting from dressing in warm Arctic gear, eating a nutritious breakfast and choosing a safe route to get to school."