THE PROJECT

It is estimated that half of the languages spoken today will disappear by 2100 if nothing is done to prevent it. There is a need of new tools and services to reverse this trend and keep all languages alive, especially those unwritten and still undocumented -and at higher risk of becoming extinct in the near future.

We worked with Google.org and the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity in the development of this project to facilitate collaboration of linguists and volunteers from all over the world in the documentation of endangered languages.

How we helped:

  • Interaction and visual design
  • Front-end and back-end development
  • Map design and development
Endangered Languages
Endangered Languages Endangered Languages

THE VIDEO

This video tries to explain why documenting and preserving endangered languages is important.

  • THE CHALLENGE

    We faced several challenges with this project:

    • Design a user-friendly tool considering different kinds of users and their respective needs: From expert linguists to language speakers and volunteers.
    • Edit and display the almost-raw academic documentation in an attractive and meaningful way while preserving its rigor.
    • Support linguistic standards like OLAC to describe language metadata.

  • THE SOLUTION

    We used a modular design approach to accommodate all the information on 3,000 languages that is already available. An important effort was made to make visible the user activity and the submitted content so participants can meet each other and collaborate.

    On the technical side, the site is built using Open Source technologies like Django and runs on Google infrastructure.

  • THE RESULTS

    A robust, scalable site for browsing information on more than 3,000 endangered languages. Registered users can suggest corrections on any entry, provide new samples and documents, and collaborate with other users to improve the site.

    The Endangered Languages project promotes a full collaboration between linguistics and the general public to empower the documentation and preservation of endangered languages. We are very proud to be part of this great effort.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Endangered Languages

    An objective we fully support

    The project matches perfectly our claim: "Great experiences for stories that matter".

  • Endangered Languages

    Geographical exploring

    We put a lot of love in designing and building a map to explore languages around the world and allowing the filtering by family, vitality or number of speakers.

  • Endangered Languages

    High performance

    Working on a Google project means having to handle many requests in short periods of time. Caching and coding efficiently is a critical factor.

ENDANGERED LANGUAGES ON THE MEDIA

  • TechCrunch

    "Technology has a lot to answer for when it comes to certain languages gaining supremacy over others, and so it’s good to see an effort where technology is being used to claw at least some of that dominance back".

    Read the complete article

  • CNN

    "The site features videos and an interactive map. The curious can click on any one of the dots that hang over each country (including a suprising number in the U.S.), each representing a whole language".

    Read the complete article

  • PC Magazine

    "...the project could serve to become a vital resource for accessing history and information buried in languages that have fallen out of popular use".

    Read the complete article

  • Mashable

    "If there is hope, it lies in the world’s centers of information — such as Google. The search giant’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has launched the Endangered Language project, a website devoted to preserving those ancient tongues that are now only spoken by a few thousand of us".

    Read the complete article

  • LA Times

    "While language can be consider an integral fiber that connects a community, the Web is what connects the world today. And a new website, called the Endangered Languages Project, aims to connect and collect the most current and comprehensive information about the more than 3,000 endangered languages of the world".

    Read the complete article

  • Engadget

    "Google collaborated with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Eastern Michigan University to compile research on the 3,000 languages at risk of dying out, and each language's profile includes results drawn from Google Books".

    Read the complete article

We take enjoyment in being a small and productive company that delivers great user experiences for stories that matter

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