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Motorola Expands Indigenous Languages Support With Addition of Ladin

 June 8, 2024

CHICAGO, United States

Motorola and the Lenovo Foundation are committed to inclusion and smarter technology for all, and today we reaffirm this dedication with the expansion of our Indigenous Languages Support Initiative. As part of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and empower Indigenous communities, Motorola is proud to announce the addition of Ladin, a minority language spoken in Italy’s Dolomites region (South of Tyrol), to the list of over 90 languages supported in our smartphones.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that one Indigenous language disappears every two weeks, resulting in the potential loss of around 3,000 unique languages by the end of the century. That’s why over the past three years, Motorola has been at the forefront of this mission, championing the revitalization of endangered languages across the globe.

With a focus on Europe for our latest phase of the Indigenous Languages Support Initiative, Motorola conducted extensive research to identify minority and endangered languages needing support. Among the languages considered, Ladin became a significant candidate, being one of the 12 officially recognized minority languages in Italy and one of three without a kinstate, or entity that is close to the region where their kin-groups reside. With only 30,000 speakers, UNESCO classifies Ladin as an endangered language.

“We’ve learned over the past few years that it is imperative that we work closely with the community of speakers and scholars that are passionate and committed to saving and promoting the language,” said Janine Oliveira, Executive Director of Software Globalization, Motorola. “This rang true for the Ladin community and made the decision to digitize the language in our devices easy.”

Motorola worked alongside the Lenovo Foundation, and several translators and reviewers from the Ladin Institute, Micurá de Rü, led by Professor Paul Videsott, Professor for Romance Philology at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (UNIBZ). “This will definitely help Ladin and other minority languages to be more visible,” said Professor Videsott. “Smartphones are like the pencil of the 21st century, and having minority languages, including Ladin, in the motorola edge 50 series, has the same importance of having a language in a book.”

At Motorola, we know indigenous populations are interacting with mobile technology and are one of many diverse groups that make up our valued consumer base. It’s why we started the project, as we aim to preserve human heritage and the unique histories of Indigenous cultures while empowering future generations. But we also believe we have a responsibility to inspire others to do the same. Through June 2024, Motorola has open-sourced over 1 million translated indigenous words, allowing other companies to promote these languages through their interfaces, furthering revitalization efforts worldwide. Today, we’re also excited to share the latest version of our Hello Indigenous whitepaper written in partnership with Lenovo Foundation and UNESCO, serving as a blueprint for others to follow in their footsteps.

Ladin is the latest of several endangered languages that Motorola has added to its smartphone interface, including Kuvi and Kangri (spoken in regions of India), Cherokee (spoken in the United States), Kaingang (spoken in Brazil) and Nheengatu (spoken in the Amazon). Motorola remains committed to our mission of inclusion and cultural preservation, leveraging technology to bridge linguistic divides and foster a more diverse and interconnected world.


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