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Cherokee language now on Facebook
CN citizen Ryan Mackey said he has been a Facebook member for about a year and enjoys using his native language on the site. (Courtesy photo)
By Christina Good Voice
Mon, Dec 28, 2009
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee speakers are starting to use popular Web sites to translate words, phrases and other parts of the language on the sites into Cherokee.
Cherokee Nation citizen Roy Boney is one of 14 translators on the social Web site Facebook who helps Cherokee people maintain ties to their culture by allowing speakers registered on the site to translate a glossary of common Facebook words and phrases. Their ultimate goal is to translate the entire site into Cherokee.
“As a citizen, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for Cherokee to exist in a virtual space that’s a major part of the world community,” he said.
As of Dec. 17, there were 34,647 untranslated phrases on Facebook’s Cherokee translations page, 142 submitted translations and 14 active translators. Those translators are from areas in the CN jurisdiction, as well as Texas, California and other areas across the United States.
The purpose of the Cherokee language translations page is for translators to discuss, translate and decide translations for core Facebook terms.
“It’s a Cherokee world community process, and all translations are voted on before going live so a consensus can be made,” Boney said. “Once all the 30,000-plus terms are translated, the entire Facebook interface will be in Cherokee.”
Another CN citizen, Ryan Mackey, said he has been a Facebook member for about a year and enjoys using his native language on the site.
“When I tried to use it on Facebook, not only could I put in my name using the Cherokee syllabary, but I could also put in my profile information in Cherokee,” he said.
Mackey said social networking may also be a way to save the language. He said users can input the Cherokee syllabary into any Web page, including Facebook, by using a Cherokee Unicode font and keyboard software. The font and software are available at www.languagegeek.com as free downloads, which work on both Mac and PC systems.
Helping preserve the language even more was an October e-mail from the tribe’s language group stating that Facebook has added Cherokee to the list of languages available on the site.
“There are over 30,000 terms that need to be translated,” the e-mail stated. “Any Facebook user can contribute to the translation process, so the project is a truly worldwide Cherokee community initiative. These terms must be voted upon by the Facebook user community before going live. If you wish to see Cherokee on Facebook as soon as possible, log in and begin translating to participate in a worldwide Cherokee translation project.”
In order to do that, users must have the Unicode Cherokee font installed on their computers.
PCs with Windows Vista already have a Unicode font installed, but the keyboard software isn’t installed and must be downloaded. On Apple, Macintosh OSX computers include the Unicode font and keyboard software. They just need enabling.
Another Web site utilizing the Cherokee language is Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone.
In an e-mail to the Cherokee Phoenix, an editors on the site stated Wikipedia has a useful Cherokee language page with more than 200 articles.
“They are in need of more editors that can use the Cherokee language to increase the amount of articles that exist,” the Wikipedia editor stated. “I think this is an amazing way to preserve the great culture and world view of the Cherokee people.”
Unicode font download
http://www.cherokee.org/Culture/Cheroke … loads.aspx
Facebook Cherokee translations page
http://chr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%8E%A4 … D%E1%8F%97