On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 5:18 AM, Andrea Zanni <zanni.andre...@gmail.com>wrote:

> [snip]
> For the things we could do, I quote form other people:
> * encourage Wikisource, Commons, Wiktionary as primary projects for
> new/endangered languages.
> You could scan books or documents if the language is written, or record
> audio/interviews and put that on Commons if t the language is just oral. or
> we could do both.

+1. I can imagine those working on languages already being able to do
things like record vocabulary and audio clips from native speakers, which
we (online Wikimedia volunteers!) can, if we have good associated metadata,
help format and make available on Commons. It could be a whole outreach
area into free-ing up this kind of knowledge, which we've barely scraped
the surface of. Recordings of words in thousands of languages on
Wiktionary! We have so much to do.

To Mike's point, yes, I can imagine better translation work happening in
underserved languages -- a problem for researchers and programmers and
linguists to collaborate on. From the outreach point of view, I have also
been kicking around the idea of using language classes to help kickstart
some Wikipedias. For instance, some African language Wikipedias are so
small that contributions from just a few people in an advanced class
studying that language (and they do exist, though there's not a lot) could
help improve the content a lot. It seems like for some languages there
could be the possibility to work with specialty language institutes around
the world.

As for resources, it's partly money, yes -- our money is not infinite --
but even more so I think it's a problem of limited human resources,
especially in the case of languages that are not spoken by many people.
Finding and helping contributors who speak the language well enough, have
online access, some technical skill, and are interested in contributing or
translating is the major issue. That problem becomes more acute the smaller
the language, which is why I like the idea of an effort to free up existing
language resources.

-- phoebe

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