The First Steps Towards Creating Bilingual Websites in Nicaragua

Ejemplo de una ficha de diseño para página web.

Example of a layout for the web page.

This is the fourth article about the “Miskito and Mayangna on the Internet” project, grantee winner of the 2015 Microgrant call to support digital activism initiatives for indigenous languages. The project is being carried out in Nicaragua and seeks to strengthen local languages with the active participation of young people.

During the development of the topics that were addressed in class, the instructor provided the students with examples of layouts to create a website, which included spaces to write the themes of the links and a space to include photographs, videos, and slideshows. The creation of the outline was an opportunity for students to think about the issues they would include on their first websites. Selected topics covered aspects such as family, friends and favorite musicians.

In the first multimedia class focused on the creation of web pages, the students did not have internet access, but their instructor showed them some useful techniques for the creation of the websites, among them: the selection of templates; the configuration of sizes, colors and font types; setting up folders for archives management; and uploading images; all these using the Wix platform for creating web pages.

During subsequent sessions in the workshop there was a better internet connection, but there were constant problems with the electric power, which, adding to the little infrastructure available, delayed the training process. At times, the students engaged in alternative activities while waiting for electricity or internet connection to be restored.

On one of the occasions when the process of creating the web pages progressed in a satisfactory way, it was observed that students were beginning to apply the techniques and to include in a much more natural way the use of indigenous languages; a student for example, suggested the term “Wauhtaya” to translate “My page” in the Miskito language. In moments like these, it made more sense to develop a web page in the local languages, and the young people began to realize that they could be owners and creators of their own digital spaces.

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