Hundreds of Endangered Languages Are Being Preserved Thanks to This Guy and His Army of Volunteers

Out of the 7,000 languages that are spoken around the world, 500 of them are at risk of being forgotten and lost to the annals of history.

Thankfully, Daniel Bögre Udell has created an online library to preserve them all.

Udell is the co-founder of Wikitongues—a nonprofit dedicated to saving the world’s endangered languages from extinction.

More than 1,000 international volunteers contribute to the Wikitongue language library by interviewing people in their native languages.

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Some of the participants use their mother tongue to talk about their culture and language—others simply use their video interviews to talk about themselves; regardless of the topics, all of the video interviews are catalogued and documented through the Wikitongue website.

When Great Big Story interviewed Udell back in April, he said the organization’s volunteers had recorded more than 435 languages from 70 countries ranging from Aruan Malay to Finnish sign language—and that number is increasing every day.

(WATCH the video below) – Photo by Great Big Story

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This App Delivers Instant Sign Language Interpreters For Those Tricky Moments That Need More Than Pen and Paper

A new video app has the potential to revolutionize the way deaf people interact in their every day lives, no matter which country they are in.

Writing notes back and forth can be painfully slow and inconvenient, especially in a retail environment, but the Jeenie language-translation app has launched a new option which instantly connects users with an ASL interpreter to help them quickly solve tricky conversations.

“It can be challenging to communicate in everyday life with people who are not fluent in ASL,” Laura Yellin, a deaf woman who has been testing the app’s new ASL feature, told Fast Company. “For example, dealing with an issue at the dry cleaners and needing to talk to a supervisor or manager can be tricky via paper and pen or typing on the phone back and forth. It makes it a lot easier to have an interpreter available for situations like that.”

Within one minute of placing a request for help, users can be connected with an interpreter at any hour of the day, according to Jeenie, which says it has 100 operators on-call.

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One of the best features about their video calling app is its low cost. Although traditional Video Relay Services (VRS) may be available for free in the US, they are no good in Canada, for instance, and they may need special requirements.

As the company researched products that provide in-person interpreters, they found very expensive fees because services were geared toward the business world—charging $90 to $125 an hour.

Jeenie charges $1 per minute, but their packages take that fee down even further—and the interpreters earn half of all the revenue generated.

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Jeenie is not just paving the way for the next generation of ASL interpreter services, they are hoping to expand to other sign languages, such as British and Chinese Sign Language, leading to millions more convenient and detailed interactions between people across the world.

(WATCH the demonstration video below)

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