Mo­bile apps are the key for Hed­land in the bat­tle to pre­serve some of the world’s old­est liv­ing and ex­tinct lan­guages.

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Robert Dougherty

Hed­land has taken up the fight to pre­serve some of the world’s old­est liv­ing and ex­tinct lan­guages, by turn­ing them into ed­u­ca­tional phone apps.

South Hed­land’s Wangka Maya Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal Lan­guage Cen­tre be­gan im­mor­tal­is­ing some of its 31 recorded Abo­rig­i­nal lan­guages with help from New Zealand dig­i­tal book pro­ducer, KIWA Dig­i­tal.

Wangka Maya Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal Lan­guage Cen­tre man­ager Julie Walker said the project had been in devel­op­ment for at least five years and would co­in­cide with the In­ter­na­tional Year of In­dige­nous Lan­guages in 2019.

“Many of our re­sources has been in cas­sette form, with the over­all largest lan­guage col­lec­tion in the Pil­bara,” she said.

“There is over 5000 au­dio and vis­ual record­ing with most about one hour long . . . most from last flu­ent speak­ers of the lan­guages (in the Pil­bara).

“(Wangka Maya is) one of the first to use au­dio dig­i­tal (tech­nol­ogy); we have been in­no­va­tive.”

Up to five lan­guages from Hed­land’s coastal re­gion are ini­tially planned to be dig­i­tally trans­lated and made avail­able ei­ther by a small in­di­vid­ual app charge for main­te­nance or free de­pend­ing on spon­sor­ship.

KIWA Dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion ed­i­tor Josh Pre­ston and pro­duc­tion mem­ber Bryan Field said the firm has pre­vi­ously worked with first na­tion tribes in Canada and lan­guage trans­la­tions in New Zealand.

“It’s con­dens­ing con­tents from books (and record­ings), synced au­dio and works,” said Mr Pre­ston

“Us­ing en­try-level tech­nol­ogy, au­thor­ing tools are sim­i­lar to Pho­to­shop or InDe­sign . . . mov­ing in a re­ally cool di­rec­tion, giv­ing peo­ple the abil­ity to pre­serve it and bring­ing it to a new gen­er­a­tion. Mr Pre­ston said six to 10 lan­guage trans­la­tions could be de­liv­ered by mid­way through next year, in­clud­ing ori­gin names of an­i­mals and plants with pro­nun­ci­a­tions.

KIWA Dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion mem­ber Bryan Field and Wangka Maya man­ager Julie Walker with the new app in devel­op­ment.

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