Editor's Note: It has already been mentioned several times on Global Voices that the world's first Quechua, Guaraní, or Aymara native speaker to blog has yet to arrive. There are several obvious reasons including lack of broadband penetration into the Andes, high cost of internet access, and the absence of blogging tools and documentation available in each language. Whereas English and Spanish-language bloggers have numerous resources available explaining how to effectively make one's voice heard in cyberspace, that reference material and support simply do not exist in Latin American indigenous languages.
One blogger hoping to help change that, however, is Spaniard David de Ugarte. In a recent post he described an effort underway to translate Claroline – an open source e-learning platform – into Quechua, Aymara, and Guaraní. Patrick Hall has translated de Ugarte's original post below.
The principles of the Ubuntu manifesto state that “software should be available free of charge, [and] software tools should be usable by people in their mother tongue…”
Here at the Biblioteca de las Indias Electrónicas we're putting out a call: we're looking for three volunteers for each of these languages who speak and write the language correctly to translate the localization file for the platform.
To encourage participation in the project, together with our friends at Sin Género de Dudas, we have opened a fund with 900 euros, of which each translator will receive a minimum of 100 euros for their work. Of course we wish it were more, so you're invited to donate to the fund with Paypal at the campaign page.
We're hoping to present the first results in Montevideo during the Iberoamerican Summit, which for the first time is focusing on the recognition and promotion of all these languages.
It goes without saying that it's a modest effort: to translate the software and put the translation into the public domain so that it can be used by anyone and incorporated into the official, free distribution of Claroline. But we think it can also serve as the seed for something much bigger. To say the least it serves as an example of collaboration between advocates of free software on both sides of the Atlantic, and one based on a recognition of the uniqueness and linguistic diversity of America.
It's from this point of view and with these values that we're announcing the campaign and we invite you to spread the word through your blogs.
[More debate at menéame [ES]]
Update: In an update post [ES], David de Ugarte writes that the effort has already collected over 1,093.85 € to pay translators. “The other great news,” according to de Ugarte, “is that we already have a Quechua translator, Noemí Vizcardo. Noemí isn't just an author of one of the most well-known blogs in Quechua … [she] is one of the two official translators of the Peruvian Congress and also a professor of Quechua with more than 34 years of experience.”
The team is still looking for translators in Aymara and Guaraní, however. If you feel moved to help this project alone, a single donation of 50€ before November 1 will, in turn, equal a $200€ donation using PledgeBank.
More information [ES] is also available on the Chilean citizen journalism site El Morrocotudo.