Facebook in the Maori Language

Archived from September 13 2012

Facebook is now available in the Maori language thanks to a small partnership of language revitalisation experts.

View the word list http://www.taiuru.maori.nz/publicationslib/facebook-maori-language-terms.pdf

We live in exciting times in terms of the Māori language where with the right combination of Language speakers and technical people we are able to have software and web sites translated into Māori, a feat that until recently was only a dream.

As Facebook no longer recognise minority languages to localise the official platform, the Māori Facebook translation is available to install via a script which will work for users of Google Chrome. The script is simply installed via the Google Chrome Store via https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/cgopigcnpdephndgbdkbiapnepgdbjfd

The majority of the translations were completed by Ian Cormack which was begun by Teanau Tuiono and co-ordinated by Karaitiana Taiuru.

As with any new localisation project, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of new Māori words need to be created as they simply do not exist. Words such as Privacy Settings, email, Blog, etc. are created by using the descriptive term to describe the concept of the word as opposed to a simple transliteration or Anglicising the word.

This leads to the issue of Māori langue speakers not knowing the newly created words and terms they are reading. For this reason, the whole set of English and Māori equivalents are online and publically available for anyone to use. The reasons for this include the basic philosophy that the Māori language is continually being halted by gate keepers who want to keep new terminology private as they think they have a legal right to the words. By making them public speakers can learn the new words and enjoy Facebook in the Māori language.

The Māori version of Facebook offers translations of the most commonly used features of Facebook as the technology would slow the system down or cause it to be unstable if every single term was to be translated into Māori.

It is hoped that with so many languages opting to translate Facebook into their own languages that Facebook will officially recognise the global need to once again consider minority languages in their official platform.

Ngā mihi nui ki a:
Neskie Manuel of Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia. Neskie originally had the foresight and passion to create the workaround despite Facebook officially not recognising minority languages. Neskie was a passionate advocate for his heritage language (Secwepemctsín). A tribute to Neskie is here http://indigenoustweets.blogspot.com/2011/07/rip-neskie-manuel.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpflF16Syvo

Professor Kevin Scannell A professor of Computer Science at St. Louis University in the USA. His work is primarily on technology for the Irish language, but he also helps many other language groups develop basic resources like spell checkers (including Māori) and software translations. He founded the Indigenous Tweets project in March 2011 to promote the use of indigenous languages in social media, especially on Twitter.

Ian Cormack A second-language learner of Maori who learnt to speak Māori while teaching in the Bay of Islands in the 1970’s. Since then he has been involved in the promotion of the Maori language as a teacher, adviser, lecturer, inspector and education review officer. He has had 15 Maori language textbooks and resources published, which are used in schools and by adults learning the language. In the last ten years he has turned his hand to Māori language translation, and he and his wife are joint directors of Taumatua Māori Language Services Limited. Currently much of his work is related to Māori language software localization.

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