Thursday, 3 June 2010

Google adds Yiddish translation - is it good for the Jews?

Some time ago Google Translate added Yiddish to their list of supported languages. Try it out with the Yiddish version of Forward. This potentially opens up troves of Yiddish history and literature to people with a limited grasp of the language. But is it good for the Jews? Or for anyone to have this happen to their language? Does machine translation help preserve a language or does it amerliorate the demise of a language?

Language preservation online

There are two interesting takes on this issue. The first, entitled The Challenges of Language Preservation, gives a good background to the problem and explains how globalisation is merely a step along a long path towards homogenisation of language but the author hopes the internet will be a useful tool for preserving minority language.

The second is a presentation from the TEDx conference, embedded below.

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