Translation: Saving Languages from Extinction

By Stacey
Aug 19, 2015 · 2 min

Did you know that there are more than 7,000 languages in the world today?

Translation: Saving Languages from Extinction | One Hour Translation

Did you know that there are more than 7,000 languages in the world today? Sadly, more than 3,000 of these languages are dangerously close to extinctions.

Why Does A Language Become Extinct?

Most languages disappear when the last native speaker dies. Hazel Simpson is one example: Hazel passed away this year, aged 103, and she was the last-known native speaker of the Klallam Native American tribe. A language can also become extinct when younger generations struggle to preserve their native language when the official language of that country is used instead. This is evidenced with the Kula language of Indonesia: this is a language that’s spoken, but not written, by the island of Alor’s elders, and today the language is on the verge of disappearing forever.

Why Is It Important to Preserve Languages?

It’s important to fight for the preservation of all languages because when a language is extinguished, so is its culture. Linguists are estimating that the 3,000 languages mentioned previously will be gone by the end of the century. So, how can we preserve a dying language in a globalized world? These languages are now being documented by linguists through translation, as a way of preserving them for future generations.

Preserving Languages Through Translation

Back in 2010 a woman named Boa Sr passed away: she was the last-known native speaker of the Bo language. Because of her death, the language Bo (which is one of the Great Andamanese Languages) became extinct. Fortunately, a professor at the University of New Delhi documented this language in 2005: it wasn’t only her language that was documented; it was also her ecological, cultural and historical knowledge. So today, this extinct language is accessible for future generations via a very-comprehensive archive of digitalized visual, audio and text documents.

Linguists in Mexico have also had much success preserving indigenous languages via analysis and data transcription.

Translation of languages, specifically languages that are only spoken, is vital in preserving these languages. One Hour Translation are experts in the field of translation, and preserving languages verging on extinction is a very important aspect of our business.

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