The Maori language has arrived on Google Translate after months of work by volunteers on thousands of words and phrases.
Google says it's worked with Maori language activist and University of Waikato senior lecturer in computer science, Dr Te Taka Keegan, over the past few years. Keegan has researched how translation technology can help preserve and revitalise minority languages.
That research resulted in an alpha version of the Google Translator Toolkit, shared among members of the Maori translation community in New Zealand.
After that, Maori-speaking volunteers spent months helping translate thousands of words and phrases so students could search and explore web pages in Maori.
"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," says Google New Zealand's public policy manager Ross Young.
"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. We hope that making this language more accessible through this technology will help more people experience our native language."
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