Education/News/April 2018/Aboriginal Volunteers in Taiwan Shared Experience about Incubating Minority Language Wikipedia in Education Magazine

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Aboriginal Volunteers in Taiwan Shared Experience about Incubating Minority Language Wikipedia in Education Magazine[edit]

Author: Written by Reke Wang (WMTW) / Translated by Chia Yi, Meng (WMTW)

Summary: Aboriginal volunteers in Taiwan shared experience about incubating their own language Wikipedia. That help us to see their needs.

WMTW was cooperating with Center for Aboriginal Studies NCCU (ALCD) between 2015 to 2017 and organized a program which invited volunteers from 16 aborigines to edit Wikimedia Incubator in their own language. The vision of this program is that each aboriginal users could edit Wikipedia with their native language, which is the same as other Mandarin users.

Aboriginal Education World is a monthly magazine which is published by ALCD, and it was investigating the Aboriginal program via Feature report in issue 79, February, 2018. It had published 12 articles which are related this program and written by people of program subsidies (government officer), program manager (professor), executive (assistant), and editing volunteers. There are 4 articles that qualify as in-depth qualitative investigation for this program, which are separately written by volunteers from Seediq, Atayal and Sakizaya.

According to the feature report, their motives for editing Wikipedia is to practice and activate native language. Lituk Teymu is a president of primary school who in charge of organized Seediq volunteers, she thought that the program is the best way to train and develop aboriginal language talent. Those talented editors were mainly participants at the Workshop for Ethnic Language Teachers. Beside Seediq volunteers, Atayal volunteer Upah Yuki mentioned that if Atayal language also has its own Wikipedia, it would be a symbol of that their language could keep pace with the other languages of the world, and he felt proud with it.

However, there were still many challenges during the process. Kulihuisin Sayun shared 3 challenges which he was frustrated with. The first one was when the Sakizaya language had been removed out of the “active wikis” list on Incubator home page. The second challenge was there were too many words to translate to his own language on, and some of them were difficult to translate. Last but not least was that the process moves slow, and the amount of articles have not reached NCCU target yet. These challenges were caused by the elder ethnic members were fluent with own language but not familiar working with computer; and the opposite, the younger generation were good on computer but not able to use their ethnic language. Several volunteers mentioned that they needed to rely on division of work between 2 generations, however this increased the need of human resources and also reduced proactive of content production.

According to those who shared their experience, there will be 2 directions which WMTW can work on it in the future: on the one hand, they could connect activities content with language skill training closely to increase incentives. On the other hand, they could fix the gaps in digital literacy and language skills by offering better teaching materials and tools.

Tags: Incubator, Aborigines, Minority language