Microsoft has added Inuktitut, the primary dialect of Inuktut, to Microsoft Translator in collaboration with the Government of Nunavut.

A part of Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage program, this new feature allows Inuktitut to be translated to and from 70 languages. The translation feature currently works through text. To ensure its accuracy, Microsoft collected the language data for its translation model.

Inuktitut is spoken by around 40,000 Inuit across Inuit Nunangat, accounting for 70 per cent of Nunavut residents. In addition to preserving the cultural heritage, developers can integrate the translation feature, powered by Azure Cognitive Services Translator and Azure Cognitive Services Speech, to add translation to apps, websites, workflows, and tools, enhancing productivity and workflow.

“It is an honour and a privilege to work with the Government of Nunavut on such an important project,” said Kevin Peesker, president of Microsoft Canada. “Language is deeply connected to culture and identity.  We believe technology can help protect our heritage and preserve language.”

Microsoft said that every two weeks, one of the world’s 7000 languages dies with its last speaker and that between 50 to 90 per cent of endangered languages will disappear by the next century.

Inuktut translation is now available in Microsoft Translator, Office, and Translator for Bing.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada