Global Language Digitization Initiative

Breaking language and communication barriers to prevent and reverse language extinction

Native Language is a Human Right

Native language is a key to cultural identity and expression, and therefore protecting native languages is a human rights question. An ecology of language involves devoted care and attention to conserve, guarantee sustainability, assure health and well-being with inarguable equality. Unequal development of our digital domain is driving a global wave of language extinction. Serious effort is needed to promote human rights, prevent global language extinction, and increase digital footprint of the endangered languages.

Only 1000 out of the world's 7000 native languages are supported online. This is because most of these languages are not yet digitized. Global Language Digitization Initiative is offering unique volunteering opportunities for localization, language translation, and internationalization experts. Join our global effort of breaking language barriers!

Emerging Markets and Internet

What would the world be like if we were all online? With so many international agencies and companies interested in emerging markets and thereby working towards 100% connectivity, we ask: In what language will the next billion people use the internet? By breaking the language barriers of the internet, we could already plug 460 M people to the global flow of information and radically increase the global digital footprint.

Bringing connectivity to emerging countries can solve many socioeconomic problems and advance the development of emerging markets and endangered languages. However, connectivity alone will not allow people to be online unless their language is digitally supported. To fully partake in the benefits of online connectivity, people will need to be able to type, speak and read the online material in their native language. We believe that increasing the digital footprint of endangered languages will have positive net impact on all parties involved.

What if we could work at a global scale to support endangered languages and break the language barriers of the digital world?

The Global Language Digitization Initiative provides a reliable method of digitally rendering a language and increasing its digital footprint. It gives solutions to the problem that endangered languages have participating in a global communications network. We present a methodology that can easily be utilized by non-technical users to meet the particular needs of their native language. The importance of this initiative is demonstrated by its multidisciplinary implementation, as it involves technology, linguistics, education, employment, policy and it is addressed not only to indigenous communities, but to all languages of the world .

It takes a global and multidisciplinary village to bring all the languages online. But we have the solutions!

Our Programs are solutions-oriented and we focus on actionable deliverables.

We set achievable and realistic goals and we have a track record of providing solutions and delivering as planned. During 2020 and 2021 we are working on creating multiple free resources, guidelines, workshops and courses to populate the Language Technology Roadmap.

Publishing of the Zero to Digital: A Guide to Bring Your Language Online was an important milestone on our journey to prevent and reverse global language extinction. But there is still a lot work to be done for ensuring human rights and connectivity for all the native languages. We call for localization and internationalization experts, language translation professionals, font designers and marketing experts to join our mission in breaking the language and communication barriers!

Speaking for Endangered Languages at UN HQ in Paris

Each language in the world has a different digital footprint. Even some of the top 20 languages are not fully represented in the entire digital roadmap shown above. It is a complex and multi-stakeholder journey for any language to be fully developed digitally. Without font designs and input methods, thousands of endangered languages cannot even start the journey. Without educational material, there will be limited content and without datasets, most languages will not have fully functional automation support in applications. Without properly trained linguists, knowledge will not be shared and cultural treasures will be lost.

The goal of this initiative is to bring together professionals, researchers, and language communities to support the digitization of endangered, indigenous, and minority languages, and to build capacity and professional networks to help all languages have equal opportunities and digital footprint online.

In preparation for the Indigenous Languages Decade: 2022-2032, we are creating multiple Guidelines, Courses and Resources to cover the entire Language Digitization Roadmap. These guidelines will follow the same pattern and have easy to follow flowcharts like our "Indigenous Language: Zero to Digital" Guidelines. When they are all finished they will be able to fit together into a seamless single flowchart interconnecting technology and linguistic aspects of the roadmap and offering free resources, training and courses for indigenous communities to learn new language skills and make a living from it.

Free prior and informed consent document on how to work with Indigenous Communities by UN

The Zero to Digital document presents the global language community with a broad vision to bring together many diverse organizations, communities and institutions. It is a blueprint for all the other steps of each language's digital roadmap.

Partners will be creating guidelines which will be put together to create a continuous workflow.

Progress can only be achieved when all of the aforementioned are bridged by a coordinating body. Translation Commons is pledged to build and maintain this bridge, providing the means for all language users to share equally in the opportunities offered by digital life.

Volunteer Opportunities

To find out more about our current volunteering opportunities, take a look at the the two working groups below.

Join our Volunteer Community Managers

Join our energetic and international team of volunteers!

Join Our Volunteer Expert Working Groups

All the expert working groups are creating free resources for the language technology road map below.