The Google Translate service is adding Te Reo Māori to the list of languages it understands.
"Today, thanks to the efforts of passionate volunteers in New Zealand, we’re adding Te Reo Māori to Google Translate." says Ross Young, Public Policy Manager, Google New Zealand in a blog post
"Bringing the Māori language to Google Translate has been an ongoing project. Over the last few years, we’ve worked with Dr. Te Taka Keegan, a Māori language activist and senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Waikato, who spent much of his career working on how technology can assist in minority language revitalisation."
While at Google, Dr. Keegan researched how computer-aided translation tools can help preserve minority languages. From that research, an alpha version of the Translator Toolkit was released to various members of Māori translation community. After months of hard work, a team of Māori-speaking volunteers helped translate thousands of words and phrases so Māori language speakers and students could search and explore webpages online.
"For minority languages such as Te Reo Māori, Google Translate provides more ways for the language to be seen and used, and greater understanding for those who are unfamiliar with the language. Online presence of small languages keeps languages relevant in the age of the Internet and globalisation, encouraging minority language use by children who are ultimately responsible for bringing the language to future generations."