Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic July 10, 2018 - 10:30 am

Facebook to launch Inuktut edition in 2019

Inuktut speakers now helping with translations in new app

Facebook will be available in the Inuit language by 2019, the social media company announced on July 9, on Nunavut Day.
Facebook will be available in the Inuit language by 2019, the social media company announced on July 9, on Nunavut Day.

Facebook will be available in the Inuit language by 2019, the social media company announced on July 9, on Nunavut Day.

And Inuktut speakers can now help with the translation of words from English into Inuktut, using the Translate Facebook app, to suggest translations for words such as “friend.”

Once someone has suggested a translation, others can vote for “up” or against “down” it. A news release from Facebook Canada says that when “a translation has been voted up enough, it becomes the official proposed translation for that string.”

These are stepping stones to the planned launch of Facebook in Inuktut in 2019, provided Facebook receives enough feedback from Inuktut speakers.

Facebook built the Translate Facebook app in 2007 to allow users to translate the interface into their languages, says the news release. The result is that Facebook is now available in more than 100 languages and, according to the social-media giant, is used by over one billion people in languages other than English.

The availability of the translation app in Inuktut is due to a partnership among Facebook Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit, the Inuit language authority.

“Facebook’s recognition of their role in the promotion and use of Inuktut is very much welcomed, particularly in Nunavut where it is the public majority language. This is refreshing because Inuit in Nunavut use Facebook to connect,” said Aluki Kotierk, president of NTI, in the news release.

“Providing an interface and allowing communications in our language is one of the ways we can encourage our people to use our language in all areas including the very widely used social media,” said Mary Thompson, chairperson of the IUT.

David Joanasie, Nunavut’s minister for languages, underlined the need to help unilingual Inuit elders remain connected with their children and grandchildren in other communities. An Inuktut version of Facebook “will help strengthen and normalize the use of Inuktut on social media by all Nunavummiut,” he said.

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(14) Comments:

#1. Posted by Nunavummiuq on July 10, 2018

They should pay for the translations, at least 25 cents a word up to 65 cents a word, depending on the difficulty of translating the word and paid to the entrant whose word(s) get selected. Time is money. Facebook will be making more than enough money by getting more unilingual Inuktut speakers signed up to use their services.

#2. Posted by Cool but... on July 10, 2018

This is very cool, but begs the obvious question: which dialect will Facebook use?

There are 9 dialects in Nunavut alone.

Creating a standardized version of the language is the single most effective thing we could do to help preserve the language.

I know I sound like a broken record sometimes, but what I say is true smile

#3. Posted by Uvangaruluk on July 10, 2018

it is just me but INUKTUT ‘the way of an Inuk’?  does that make sense.  maybe we first need to clarify what that means and if it means the Inuit language.

#4. Posted by Free on July 10, 2018

Awesome Facebook!
Don’t wait for what #2 (Cool but…) is saying… stall tactic… I understand the meaning and can communicate with 6 of those 9 dialects without great effort… 3 of those dialects I have a brain and can learn when I need to… Just do it Facebook!

#5. Posted by Get real on July 10, 2018

#1 Is the typical northerner, wants to get paid for everything.

Funny, but sad.

#6. Posted by Jack Ass on July 10, 2018

#1 Your remind me of someone I used to work with who thought Inuit should be given royalties each time a southerner used a kayak or an Inuksuk.

Funny hey? Kind of dumb too.

#7. Posted by Noah on July 11, 2018

If you’ve taken business or economics renumeration makes sense. I can’t remember seeing southerners doing things for free. I am happy more young Inuit get education, still get to go hunting but know as much or more education than the people coming north at times.

#8. Posted by Majority Rules on July 11, 2018

#2 it looks like there will be a “vote” on which word fits best and facebook will go with that. So I guess that means it depends on who contributes… probably not #1s dialect since he/she doesn’t do it for free.

#9. Posted by iRoll on July 11, 2018

#7 I agree, you should be paying to use this app, or you should be paying to use facebook, as there’s nothing about this that benefits anyone except unilingual Inuit.

Make them pay!

How stupid.

#10. Posted by Inuttitut on July 11, 2018

Nunavik Ungava - Inuttitut -

More dialects to consider

#11. Posted by Kanuwhipit on July 12, 2018

#3, Inuktut, haven’t you heard that Inuktut means both Inuktitut and Inuvialuktun.

#12. Posted by Nunavummiuq on July 12, 2018

#5, #6 and #9 Just stay ignorant, arrogant and racist and live in your own little white world. Last I checked translation is a profession and people don’t get into professions to work for free.

#13. Posted by iRoll on July 13, 2018

#12 This is a very compelling stance: if someone doesn’t agree with you they are an ignorant racist!

Wow… but not quite convincing.

You’ll have to pardon me, I thought the implication in comment #1 was that users would pay. Obviously the persons who work on the software are paid.

No shit.

#14. Posted by Nunavummiuq on July 13, 2018

#13 Yes, I’m sorry for not being clear enough and for calling you an ignorant racist along with #5 and #6. Yes, I wasn’t saying that the users should pay but rather Facebook should pay. It wouldn’t add up to much compared to how much they make because they do get some of their revenues based on how many users are signed up to use their service. Again I’m sorry.

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