Language: quechua (chanka variant)
The “Lliwllapaq runasimi-Quechua for all” initiative is a free software localisation project, aimed at making the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox browser’s content available in Quechua Chanka; its coordination is the responsibility of Shara Huaman Julluni, who is a native speaker of the Quechua spoken in the Abancay province in the Apurímac region of Peru.
Project page: Localisation – Firefox-Quechua Chanka
The project culminated at the beginning of 2016 from a collaboration between the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and the Mozilla Foundation, which made it possible to secure the participation of the project’s current coordinator.
Reception and Impact
The initiative is part of a group of around 50 Firefox localisation projects into indigenous languages. The participating groups are working with languages from countries such as Peru, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Jamaica, Ecuador, El Salvador and Argentina. The advances in Quechua Chanka bring an advance in the terminology translation of more than 850 texts, as well as the Firefox Aurora version which has 1250 translations, while the general localisation of the platform currently holds an estimated 300 of the 893 required translations.
Software used: Skype (long-distance communication), Microsoft Office (text editing).
The project hasn’t yet been openly released to the relevant communities given that it is in its production phase, however the project’s coordinator senses a simmering interest from other members of the communities that she has contacted, who are very happy with the work that is being done. This situation shows us that there is a motivation to bolster the involvement of other participants, however the difficulties in arranging meeting times and problems with internet access make it impossible for this to happen. Meanwhile, the community of localisers for the Mozilla Nativo project and the official institutions, such as the Ministry of Culture, have all gained positive feedback regarding the excitement generated by the pioneering nature of the concept.
Challenges and constraints
Access to infrastructure and a strong connection to track the processes of translating the localisation has been one of the main factors that have in some way restricted the progress of the tasks. This problem area has been rectified with the project coordinator having the support of her family circle in order to make up for the problems concerning connectivity and availability of infrastructure. However, this was not the case at first, as Shara describes:
En un inicio no tenía internet en casa el trabajo lo realizaba en el internet de la calle, gastaba mucho dinero además de que había mucha interferencia y la conexión era muy lenta, había mucha bulla de los usuario y no lograba avanzar con mi propósito. Entonces nos organizamos en mi familia y decidimos invertir parte de nuestros ingresos familiares en hacer instalar un internet en casa y comprar una laptop.”
At the beginning I didn’t have internet at home and so to do the work, I had to spend a lot of money on internet access away from the house, and as well as a lot of interference and a very slow connection, there was a lot of interference from the internet users and I was unable to go on with my plan. Then my family got together and we decided to save part of our earnings for installing the internet at home as well as buying a laptop.
Another of the important challenges has been the plunge into the use of new technical equipment and environments from which the translation work is produced. With this in mind, it has been necessary to learn about the management of the Firefox localisation programs and platforms, for which the support and consultancy of the Mozilla community has always been available.
Finally, it’s clear that there's an emerging need for greater financial aids that will eventually facilitate the participation of other community stakeholders, who are also interested in participating but do not have the means to actively contribute to the project.
The ‘Lliwllapaq runasimi’ coordinator recognises that it is essential that the project has an impact on the development of the language through methods of practice that include a practical use of the language, making sure that it is functional and that it has an influence among the diverse interactions of the communities. It is hoped that the initiative can have a visible effect on the majority of the Quechua-speaking population with access to the new platforms and technologies, overcoming any barriers and achieving an optimal dissemination of Quechua through the introduction of new, accessible areas. Furthermore, it is imagined that this type of action also brings changes to the attitudes towards the use of the language, contributing in one way or another to eradicating the discrimination that many of its speakers experience, and in turn preventing the language from falling into a state of decline.