Google has launched a new tool called Woolaroo to compile and preserve indigenous languages.
The company announced the tool on 5 May.
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It features indigenous languages from all over the world, including Yugambeh — the first Australian Aboriginal language to be featured on the app.
“Crucial to Indigenous communities is that Woolaroo puts the power to add, edit and delete entries completely in their hands,” Yugambeh Museum CEO, Rory O’Connor, said in a statement.
“We hope people will enjoy learning and interacting with a new language and learn about the diversity of communities and heritage we all share together.”
How does Google Woolaroo work?
Woolaroo works by recording words and phrases and compiling them to create an accurate vocabulary of indigenous languages. The software is open-source and users can make contributions to the supported languages.
Users can also make corrections and edits to incorrect words.
Currently, the tool supports 10 languages from around the world. They include Yugembah, Louisiana Creole, Calabrian Greek, Māori, Nawat, Tamazight, Sicilian, Yang Zhuang, Rapa Nui, and Yiddish.
“Any of these languages are an important aspect of a community’s cultural heritage,” O’Connor said.
How do I use the tool?
To access the tool, check out the Woolaroo website.
The website is optimised to be viewed on mobile devices as it needs access to a camera and microphone. You will need to give the website permission to use those features on your phone.
The website will then list the available languages and provide a brief description of each.
After choosing one, take a picture of an object. The tool will scan the image and identify all the items it can and provide a language translation for each. Each word will have a recording attached so you can listen to the correct pronunciation.
Feature image: Google