Twitter in Te Reo Māori ?

Twitter today announced that it would offer Twitter interface in multiple languages with other languages to be offered in the future.

Currently Twitter is available in two languages English and Japanese. Twitter are calling for volunteers to assist with translating Twitter into French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

The Twitter team have made it clear that once the extra four languages are made available they will work on other languages so their users can use Twitter in their own native tongue. I am guessing that the extra four languages are a testing bed as they are some of the worlds largest languages in geographic areas that are heavy Twitter users.

My opinion is that we will have a version of Twitter in Māori long before FaceBook due to the commercial nature of FaceBook and its large international base of users.

I forecast that for the first time in the history of Māori language developments, activist, fighting for our language to be recognised in our own country and in all that we interact with – there will be more opportunities to have Māori language interfaces in our day to day interactions (ie social media)than we can accommodate. I fear this may be the case for a number of years as currently there is literally only several individuals doing the majority of the translating work.

For the past few years I have been translating Skype into Māori. 78% of the interface is directly translated into Māori. The remainder have no direct translations that I am aware of. Much in the same way as in the mid 1990’s Te Taka Keegan (now Dr) created a corpus of his own ICT translations to cater to his lecturers. Likewise, Te Tumatakuru O’Connell created his own corpus to cater for basic translating of web services.

As Māori speakers we need to begin contemplating new terminology and making the terminology public so it can naturally become part of our vocabulary.

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