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Microsoft Technology

Microsoft Translator Now Supports Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi Language 60

First time accepted submitter BrianFagioli writes So, just how rare are these two languages? The Yucatec Maya language is spoken by less than 800,000 people, while the Querétaro Otomi is spoken by about 33,000. These are extremely low numbers in the grand scheme of things, which increases the risk of the languages dying out altogether. With that said, Microsoft's support of the languages in its translator software will essentially preserve it for posterity. Even if the languages end up fading away from actual use, it should live digitally forever.
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Microsoft Translator Now Supports Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi Language

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  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday February 23, 2015 @03:11PM (#49114317)
    "Why did Microsoft take away the start menu in Windows 8? Metro is worse than bat shit."
  • No one will be able to tell if the translation is valid or not.
    • No one will be able to tell if the translation is valid or not.

      You've succinctly described the real issue here, since machine translators are still not very good.

      Preserve the language? Not really.

      • 833,000 people would disagree with you.

        Ok, if you meant in the future...yes, you have a point. The real way to preserve a language is to preserve genuine human-written or -spoken texts, and preferably a grammar and a lexicon as well. Even better if the grammar is computer-processable. (Disclaimer: that's my job, albeit not for endangered languages.)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    To Serve Man?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Submitter can't into English.

  • Kaspersky lab has identified a critical vulnurability in the translator . One exploited the attackers can replace everyday use words with obscene words like fetituka and kgrojhyakta which could make people speaking these languages chop off each others heads .
  • 1 It also does Klingon.
    2. There does not seem to be a word in Yucatec Maya for quark.

  • ... if Klingon and pig latin are supported.
  • All the fortran programs I wrote as a grad student in Indian Institute of Science, back in 1980s live for ever in that 2400 feet of half-inch tape recorded at 6250 Bytes-per-inch lives digitally for ever. The only good thing about that was that I swiped the blank media from my former employer instead of paying half-a-month salary of a gazetted (civilian equivalent of commissioned) officer to buy the blank tape in the open market. Back in those days, in India, imported items were that expensive.

    Then I also

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What about Zapoteco, Nahuatl, Huichol, Sioux, Navajo, and the dozens of other native American languages? Our continent has had a rich history of cultures and languages, perhaps the most diverse in human history! FWIW, my niece is named after a Mayan goddess, Ixquic and my brother-in-law's ashes are interred in the Zapotec capital of Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico and the largest boulevard in the city is named for him now. Also, my niece's husband is from Queretaro. I don't know if he speaks Otomi, but it is

    • by gwolf ( 26339 )

      If your family has had a mezcal for 4 generations, it just means they don't drink alcohol, or have it really well hidden. Maybe they have had a temazcal (similar to a sauna, but with far more associated rituals to it) ;-)

      Universidad Politécnico does not exist, in fact. There is a long-standing rivalry between "la universidad" (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and "el poli" (Instituto Politécnico Nacional). Nowadays, I teach at UNAM and am a student at IPN :-)

      Huichol is spoken in

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

      Our continent has had a rich history of cultures and languages, perhaps the most diverse in human history!

      Not to belittle the great diversity of language on the American continent, but sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, especially India, Indonesia and the Philippines, are significantly more diverse lingustically even than Bolivia (the most lingustically diverse country in the Americas).

    • There is lots of work going on to "save" these languages, in various ways: recording oral and/or written texts, writing grammars and dictionaries, teaching children the languages in the classroom, translating learning materials into them, promoting literacy in these languages. Some efforts are more successful than others. Do a web search for "documenting endangered languages", or for the individual languages.

      And if you want to look for other languages--many of them endangered--a good starting place is the

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian DOT bixby AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 23, 2015 @05:04PM (#49114887)

    Still doesn't do Quechua, which is spoken by over 14 million people.

  • Translating the top 10 most common languages between each other is the most useful. Anything beyond that is window dressing.

    • Translating the top 10 most common languages between each other is the most useful. Anything beyond that is window dressing.

      Quickly checking on wikipedia, how about the 11th (German)? 18th (French)...?

      "Top ten" is a ridiculously arbitrary cut off point.

      • Way to miss my point. If the system sits there and is useful for the top ten then it wins. If its useful for dead languages that no one really speaks anymore... then its useless. Do you need to translate your words into and out of Mayan?

        No?

        What was that? I didn't quite understand what you said...

  • Apocalypto (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bunyip ( 17018 ) on Monday February 23, 2015 @05:35PM (#49115089)

    I wonder if we can now translate that Mel Gibson movie about the Maya?

    Seriously though, adding another language with a completely different structure will force them to improve their translation engine. I find it interesting.

    A.

    • Unfortunately, it won't. They'll produce tripe, like they have always done, and people will congratulate them for "preserving" a language when they are merely producing a badly mangled version of it.
  • MS's translator is generally good, I like using it on my phone, the camera translation is a particularly nice feature, but the one language which I'm constantly having to go to google for translations is latin. Why won't they add it in? For a lot of educated disciplines, science, law, latin is a used, and sometimes it's helpful for some decent translating.
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