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You may recall that in 2013, Transparent Language launched the 7000 Languages Project, an initiative created to support the world’s less common, less commercial languages. One such language is Balinese, spoken on the island of Bali in Indonesia. We partnered with the folks at BASABali to help preserve this beautiful language, providing Balinese resources to schools across the island.
We recently launched a multi-media Balinese-English-Indonesian wiki resource dictionary which functions as a dictionary within the Balinese language itself — with example sentences and YouTube videos of native speakers saying those sentences — drawn from newspaper columns, traditional texts, blog postings, etc. The dictionary, with a choice of interfaces in three languages, also can be used as a translation dictionary between English, Balinese, and Indonesian. 2500 people from 77 countries have already accessed the dictionary, which was started with 10,000 words from Fred Eiseman’s Balinese-English dictionary. The public is invited to add to the dictionary which is being edited by a team of 10 linguists from Balinese universities.
Hand in hand with the dictionary is Transparent Language’s Balinese Word of the Day, offering a daily word in Balinese with usage notes in English and Indonesian. The Word of the Day will be added to the Wiki as we continue to try to capture the most current usage of the language.
Also feeding into the wiki is a new online Balinese language monthly poetry competition, in which participants are asked to write a poem according to the theme of the month. Winners are selected by a team of linguists and by the public. We are working on culminating a Balinese year’s competition at a live poetry slam in honor of Saraswati Day, the Balinese day of Knowledge, at the Arma Museum and Resort. The live poetry slam will include not only the online participants, but competitors from youth organizations and banjars (community organizations) from each district in Bali.
On the education front, we continue to work with the schools and the government to distribute multi-media language materials to middle and high schools throughout Bali. With many thanks to Transparent Language and a team of translators, the materials are now available with both Indonesian and English instruction, and offer training in both written and spoken Balinese. The materials are also available to individuals at a modest cost ($25).
And, we continue to enjoy Google in Balinese, with many thanks again to all those who made it happen.
Here at Transparent Language, we’re committed to supporting all of the world’s languages and we are immensely proud of this work. To learn more about the 7000 Languages Project, visit:http://www.transparent.com/about/7000-languages-project.html.