The Cherokee Nation’s latest effort involves using Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel and Power Point that use the Cherokee language. The products are available in Microsoft’s online SkyDrive program. COURTESY PHOTO

Microsoft, CN collaborate again on Cherokee language

BY WILL CHAVEZ
12/26/2013 09:34 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation has again worked with Microsoft to increase the usage of the Cherokee language.

Cherokee Language Program Manager Roy Boney Jr. said this latest effort involves using Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel and Power Point that use the Cherokee language. The products are available in Microsoft’s online SkyDrive program.

“Instead of working with the desktop version that consumers have to pay for, the tribe’s Cherokee Language Program worked with the online Microsoft version that is free called SkyDrive,” Boney said.

SkyDrive is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local devices. The service allows users to keep files private, share them with contacts or make the files public.

Boney said once a SkyDrive account is set up the language for the account can be changed to Cherokee.

“You can then start creating documents in Word and in Excel, and it’s all in the Cherokee language. The interface is in Cherokee,” Boney said. “The idea is to have an environment where they are creating content (in Cherokee) and if they use it enough they will get accustomed to what it’s saying. Everyone is used to using Word. It has the same menu structures and everything, it’s just in Cherokee.”

Boney said he hopes that being an “immersive environment” the person using SkyDrive will begin to learn to read and write Cherokee because they are actively using the language.

The tribe’s translation specialists spent two years translating Cherokee to work with the cloud-based SkyDrive.

The Cherokee version went public on Dec. 16 and joins 106 other languages offered by Microsoft. It allows anyone to make spreadsheets in Excel, Power Point presentations or a basic Word document in Cherokee.

Cherokee is the first Native American language to be supported by Microsoft. In December 2012, Microsoft and CN officials celebrated the integration of the language into the new Windows 8 operating system.

Sixteen CN language translators and other staff members worked with Microsoft to prepare for the integration of Cherokee into Windows 8. More than 180,000 words were translated for the program.

In November 2012, the tribe partnered with Google to add Cherokee to its email service Gmail, which allowed people to exchange emails using Gmail and instant message chats in the Cherokee syllabary.

will-chavez@cherokee.org


918-207-3961



How to enable the Cherokee version of Microsoft Office Web Apps in SkyDrive:

1. Sign in to https://skydrive.live.com/ (or sign up for a free account if you don’t have a Microsoft account).

2. After signing in, scroll to the bottom of the page. Click the language options on the far right to change the language to Cherokee. Click Save.

3. After saving settings, go to the Create menu at the top. The menu will give options to create a new Word, PowerPoint, Excel or other documents. Select the desired type of document.

4. An interface on screen should now be in Cherokee. This works on any Internet-enabled device regardless if a Cherokee font is installed on your device or not.

For more information or questions, email languagetech@cherokee.org
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