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Kyrgyz Language Is Part of Google Translate!

Screenshot of Google Translate in Kyrgyz shared on Tilek Mamutov's Facebook page.

Screenshot of Google Translate in Kyrgyz shared on Tilek Mamutov's Facebook page.

Google Translate is now available in over 100 languages, one of which is the Kyrgyz language, spoken mostly in the mountainous Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.

The struggle to get Kyrgyz onto Google Translate was waged over several years by local users of Facebook and Russian social media, but the Turkic tongue spoken by over 5 million people worldwide had a tireless advocate inside the tech giant, too.

Tilek Mamutov, a Kyrgyz Technical Program Manager at Google who currently lives in the San Francisco bay area, celebrated the arrival of Google Translate in a Facebook post on February 18:

Кыргызский язык теперь в Google Translate!!!

Спасибо команде Google Translate, которые уже много лет работают над алгоритмами перевода и за работу, начатую годы назад, над кыргызским языком в частности.

Также хочу отметить носителей языка, которые внесли свой вклад в тренировку алгоритма! Огромный вклад внесла граппа под координацией Чоробека Сааданбекова. И хочу отметить внесших вклад через Айсок Кыргызстан за то, что подняли тему сотрудничества кыргызстанцев с Гуглом очень давно, поставили некоторые первые кирпичи в фундамент и вдохновили Гугл сделать глобальный инструмент принятия отзывов от сообществ. Спасибо всем кто помогал этим группам и тем кто вносил вклад индивидуально.

Приглашаю всех попробовать: http://translate.google.com/ Только помните, пожалуйста, что это только первые шаги, и если вы увидите что какой-то перевод можно улучшить прошу нажать соответствующую кнопку.

Kyrgyz language is now on Google Translate !!!

Many thanks to the team of Google Translate, whose work on the translation algorithms began years ago. I also want to note speakers of the language who made a contribution to the training algorithm! A huge difference was made by the work of a group coordinated by Chorobek Saadanbekov.

And I want to mention those who have contributed through Aisok Kyrgyzstan, which has raised issues of cooperation between Google and Kyrgyzstan for a long time, and who helped inspire Google to create a global instrument for accepting feedback from different communities.

Thanks to everyone who helped these groups and to those who have contributed individually.

I invite everyone to try: http://translate.google.com/ Just remember, please, that these are only the first steps, and if you see that some translations can be improved, just click the appropriate button.

Ironically, Mamutov's message was written not in Kyrgyz, but in Russian, a language still dominant in the ex-Soviet country's capital Bishkek.

Online, most of the country's .kg internet space is still accounted for by Russian language websites.

Using Google Translate to translate Russian-language news reports about Kyrgyzstan, for instance, one finds the national currency, the som, rendered as ‘catfish’, while Bolot, a common Kyrgyz first name, becomes ‘swamp’.

Google Translate in Kyrgyz will open up better access to the small but diverse Kyrgyz language Internet, although as Mamutov hints, translations are likely to be affected by inaccuracies for some time.

Kyrgyz beside a traditional nomadic dwelling in the early 20th century. From the archives of the state registry.

Kyrgyz beside a traditional nomadic dwelling in the early 20th century. From the archives of the state registry.

Kyrgyz is spoken outside Kyrgyzstan, notably in Russia, where up to a million Kyrgyz migrants live and work, and in Tajikistan, where Kyrgyz communities live along the Pamir mountain range.

In Afghanistan, over 1,000 Kyrgyz inhabit the Wakhan Corridor, one of the most closed-off parts of the world.

There, children study in Dari, but satellites attached to yurts (nomadic felt dwellings) enable the of the community to watch news about Kyrgyzstan in Kyrgyz.

A Wakhan Kyrgyz. Screenshot from video uploaded by Jeff Waalkes.

A Wakhan Kyrgyz. Screenshot from video uploaded by Jeff Waalkes.

Kyrgyz language has arrived on Google Translate.

Constitutionally, Kyrgyz remains Kyrgyzstan's state language, with Russian as an ‘official’ language that is just as commonly used in government documents.

State education in the country is in Kyrgyz, Russian and Uzbek, although the government recently removed Uzbek-language university entrance tests amid concerted pressure from nationalists.

Command of Russian is fading quickly outside Bishkek, while many young Kyrgyz choose to learn Mandarin, as well as English, in order to take advantage of employment opportunities related to neighbouring China's investment in the region.

 Sixty-year-old Ainysa and her grandson. All of her children work in Russia. Chek village, Batken oblast, Kyrgyzstan.

Sixty-year-old Ainysa and her grandson. All of her children work in Russia. Chek village, Batken oblast. Photo taken by Eylor Nematov and used with permission.

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A young Kyrgyz man stares into binoculars outside the country's main football stadium. Photo by Tamas Paczai used with permission.

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