Language focus | 22.08.2012

£3m project could preserve document translation into endangered languages

Document translation to and from languages currently thought to be endangered could be safeguarded in the future thanks to the efforts of a project with almost £3 million in funding.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation in the USA have outlined $4.5 million of financial support for 43 separate initiatives designed to make sure endangered languages are not lost completely.

With about 7,000 distinct languages currently in use around the world, document translation is an important means of making sure information can be understood by people who do not speak the original language of any given text.

However, as many as half of those languages are expected to die out before the end of the century, meaning the clock is ticking on efforts to document the languages themselves – including their vocabulary, spelling conventions, grammatical structures and so on.

With the latest round of funding, many of these dialects can be studied and recorded, with a focus on understanding them as soon as possible where their extinction is an imminent possibility.

Source: EurekAlert!


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