5988 Language Localization and New Technologies for Inuktitut

Friday, February 17, 2012: 9:00 AM
Room 202-204 (VCC West Building)
Leena Evic , Pirurvik Center for Inuit Language, Culture, and Wellbeing, Iqaluit, NU, Canada
Gavin Nesbitt , Pirurvik Centre , Iqaluit , ON, Canada
As a People, we Inuit have always embraced tools and technologies that enhanced our ability to adapt, prosper and communicate with each other in our vast Arctic homeland. The evolution of information and communication technology provides us with a tool to link our communities in a way unimaginable just a generation ago. It is not without difficulty and it requires a continual effort to ensure that our Inuktitut language is incorporated into the latest developments. Pirurvik, meaning "a place of growth", is a unique Nunavut company that has become well known as a leader for technological innovation.  We have been involved, not only in developing the technology but in creating the opportunities for people to begin using it. Through outreach to Nunavut communities we have witnessed the enormous potential that is unleashed when Inuktitut speakers see their language on a computer screen.  In doing so, Inuit are empowered to think in our language, write in our language and even print in our language.  These are all critical pieces of ensuring that smaller languages, like Inuktitut, continue to be used in a wide range of day to day activities. These steps also enable greater numbers of Inuit to participate in and contribute to the global community that is connected through computer technology. With examples relating to the Inuktitut localization of the Microsoft Windows and Office software and the development of on-line and iOS based language acquisition tools, this talk will discuss the social and technological steps taken to establish Inuktitut's place in the digital world.
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