In good news for Native American languages, Google has made Cherokee a “searchable” language.
Although Google won’t translate Cherokee websites into English or English websites into Cherokee, content written in Cherokee can now be found using the search engine. An on-screen keyboard will allow characters to be typed in the Cherokee alphabet, known as the “syllabary”. The development comes after Google spent over a year working with translators from the Cherokee Nation.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith hailed it as a major victory in the tribe’s battle to preserve its ancient language.
“Language is like a muscle. It has to be exercised in order to stay healthy and grow stronger,” Smith told the Tulsa World.
“This is one more tool for people, especially young people, to exercise their language.”
“No one really knows how much content is out there because it’s never been searchable before,” he said.
“This will make what is already there more accessible, and at the same time, it will be an incentive to create more Cherokee content.” (Source: Tulsa World)