Local language, online content pushed

By: Stephen D. Capillas January 26,2015 - 06:12 AM
The Cebuano page of Wikipedia which is one of two Filipino Wikipedia pages that have the largest online content.

The Cebuano page of Wikipedia which is one of two Filipino Wikipedia pages that have the largest online content.

Software developer Mozilla and the nonprofit organization Wikimedia Foundation said they are pushing for development of local content as well as use of the Filipino languages in discussing technology issues and terms.

In yesterday’s forum entitled “Filipino Indigenous Languages in Citizen Media” Robert Reyes, Mozilla Philippines representative, said they are looking for volunteers to translate technical terms used in information technology.

“It’s hard to reach out to different communities (because of the language barrier). There are no real equivalents of technical terms in the local languages, they have no native terms.  (So, it’s no) surprise that most of our users are comfortable using English,” he said.

Reyes, who’s spearheading efforts to translate Mozilla’s Firefox into the Filipino vernacular, acknowledged that there is an “active community of speakers” and writers in the country who can help them in their project.

Eugene Alvin Villar, chairman of the board of trustees of Wikimedia Philippines, echoed Reyes’ point and cited as an example the mouse, a pointing device used with personal computers.

“The Filipino translation is daga and we know that it is erroneous to translate the device into a creature,” Villar said.

As far as local content is concerned, Villar said Wikipedia hosts eight Filipino language content sites of which Tagalog is the most active.

Collaborative effort

“By Filipino (it is understood by many as) Tagalog. But the largest Filipino language content in Wikipedia is Cebuano and Waray and they contain one million archives each,” Villar said.

But in terms of depth of content, Villar said Wikipedia’s Ilocano site tops the list “and we owe it to a very prolific contributor. So while Tagalog is the most active, Cebuano and Waray have the largest archives, Ilocano has the most in-depth and comprehensive articles,” he said.

Wikimedia Philippines is part of the Wikimedia Foundation, an American nonprofit and charity organization based in San Francisco, California better known for operating Wikipedia, an Internet encyclopedia.

Emmanuel Mongaya, Sun.Star Superbalita columnist and guest panelist, said software developers and search engine firms should collaborate with mainstream media in translating and developing local content for the Filipinos.

“With taxi drivers now able to use smartphones and use applications like Waze to find places, it won’t be long now before they are able to use smartphones to read local content while at work,” he said.

Dr. Jocelyn Gerra, executive director of culture and heritage of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., agreed saying that collaborative effort between stakeholders is essential in promoting culture and languages.

The forum is one of several held as part of the two-day Global Voices Citizen Media Summit which ended yesterday at the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

The event that was attended by 300 bloggers, social media experts and online activists from 60 countries around the world seeks to raise awareness of a free and open Internet and the protection of Internet rights to privacy and access through local perspectives and experiences.

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TAGS: Bisaya, Cebu, Cebuano, dialect, education, language, wikipedia

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