CN translators celebrate accomplishments
Front row, left to right, are Cherokee Nation translators Adaline Smith, Lois Leach, Phyllis Edwards, Anna Sixkiller, former manager of the Language Program Candessa Tehee, and translator Lula Elk. Second row, from left to right, are Microsoft Engineering Excellence Team member Tracy Monteith and translators Durbin Feeling, Russell Feeling, Lawrence Panther, Dennis Sixkiller and David Crawler, Language Program Manager Roy Boney, translator John Ross, Language Technology assistant Jeff Edwards, translator Ed Fields, and chief information officer Jon James. Back row, left to right, are Microsoft Senior International Project engineer Alfred Hellstern, Language Technology intern Zachary Barnes and Microsoft account manager for Native American accounts Don Lionetti. COURTESY
CATOOSA, Okla. – On Feb. 21, 17 Cherokee Nation translators celebrated with Microsoft officials at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on the groundbreaking progress being made by translators in the Cherokee Language Program.
The event coincided with International Mother Language Day, a United Nations event to honor the more than 6,000 diverse languages worldwide.
“When we first started out in translation, I never dreamed we would come this far with so many projects and products now offering the Cherokee language, so this is amazing,” translator Durbin Feeling said. “As more people learn about us, there seems to always be new translation projects to work on.”
The CN is among the first tribes to start a formal translation department using its fluent speakers. In January, translators translated 150,000 modern English terms into Cherokee for Microsoft’s Office Online. For the first time, it allows users to create Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents in the Cherokee syllabary.
Microsoft’s Senior International Project engineer Alfred Hellstern, Native American Accounts Manager Don Lionetti and engineer Tracy Monteith, an Eastern Band of Cherokees citizen, gave the translators a plaque on behalf of the technology company.
“Microsoft put efforts into this, but the bulk of the heavy lifting was by translators at the Cherokee Nation,” Lionetti said. “You’re in a very elite group since there is no other tribal nation that has their language in the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office products, which is a testament to the translators’ passion and dedication to be able to do this.”
The CN has worked with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yale University and the Gilcrease Museum on translation projects.
“The Cherokee language is one of the most important aspects of who we are as a tribe, and many elements of our culture are contained in our language,” Roy Boney, Cherokee Language Program manager said. “Our language offers more than communication. It transmits cultural knowledge and a mode of thinking that is uniquely Cherokee. To lose our language would mean a huge loss of part of our heritage, and the goal of the Cherokee Nation Language Program is to ensure our language lives on for future generations.”
ᎦᏚᏏ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎧᎦᎵ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏌᏊᎯᏁ , ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᏯᏂᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎵᎮᎵᏨ ᎾᏍᏊ Microsoft ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ Ꮎ ᏍᏓᏯ ᏅᏱᎢ ᏧᏂᏒᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᏔᎳᏏᎢ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎦᏓ ᏣᏂᏲᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎾᏅᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ.ᎯᎠ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎢᏧᎳᎭ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎤᏂᏥ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᎪᎯ, ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᏗᎵᎮᎵᏧᏗ ᎤᎶᏍᏛ ᎾᏃ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏗᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛᎢ.
“ᎢᎬᏱ ᏦᎦᎴᏅᎲ ᏙᏣᏁᎶᏗᏍᎬ, Ꮭ ᏲᏤᎵᏍᎨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏴ ᎣᎩᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏣᏍᏈᏍᏗ ᎣᎩᎭ ᏲᎦᏛᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏲᎦᏛᏁᎸᎢ ᏃᏊ ᏚᏂᏍᎪᎸᏙ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗᏃ ᎢᎦ,” ᎤᏛᏅ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ Durbin Feeling. “ᎤᏂᎪᏛ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᎰᏍᎬ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎲ, ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎠᎰ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏤ ᎦᎷᎪ ᎣᎦᏁᎸᏙᏗ.”
ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᏓ ᎤᏂᎲ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎧᎵ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ. ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏅ ᏥᎧᎸ, ᏗᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᏚᎾᏁᎶᏔᏅ 150,000 ᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᏃᏊ ᎢᏤ ᏤᎾᎢ ᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᏙᏨᏁᎸ Microsoft’s Office Online. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ, ᎣᏥᏩᏘᏍᎪ ᏗᎦᏲᎪᏢᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ, Power Point ᎠᎴ Excel ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏕᎦᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᏙᏨᏁᎲᎢ.
Microsoft Senior International Project engineer Alfred Hellstern, Native American Accounts Manager Don Lionetti ᎠᎴ engineer Tracy Monteith, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎠᏁᎲ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᎳ, ᏚᏁᎸᎢ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᏓᎾᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᏂᏅ technology ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ.
“Microsoft ᎢᎦ ᎠᎾᎵᏂᎬᏁᎰ, ᏂᎦᏓ ᏍᏓᏯ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Lionetti. “ᏙᎯᏳ ᏬᏌᏂᏱ ᏗᏥᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎢᏣᏓᏡᎦ ᏝᏃ ᏄᎾᏓᎴ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏚᎾᏓᏠᎬ ᏱᏄᏅᏁ Windows ᏳᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗᏗ ᎠᎴ Microsoft ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᏯᏅᏗᏍᎪᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎧᏃᎮᎭ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏛ ᎠᎴ ᏍᏓᏯ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.”
ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎸᎭ ᎢᏧᎳᎭ ᏚᏂᎸᏍᏓᏁᎳ Apple, Google, Microsoft, ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ Yale University ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ Gilcrease Museum ᏚᏂᎾᎥ ᏧᏪᏘ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪᎢ.
“ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏊ ᎨᏒ ᏭᎵᏍᎨᏗᏴᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏤᎯᏯ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏲᎦᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎣᎩᎲ ᏚᏓᏂᏴᏗ ᎣᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ,” ᎤᏛᏅ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᎵᏙᎯ. “ᎣᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎨᏴ ᎤᏗᏗᏝ ᎾᏃ ᏗᏟᏃᎮᏓᏊ ᎨᏒ ᎢᎦᎢ. ᎦᎾᏅᎪᏫᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏗᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬᎢ. ᏲᎩᏲᎱᏎᎵ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᏣᏘ ᎨᏒ ᏲᎩᏲᎱᏏ ᎾᎿ ᏦᏓᎦᎴᏅᎯ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏚᏄᎪᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᎾ ᎠᎢᏎᏍᏗ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎬᏃᏛ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏂ ᏣᎾᎢ ᎤᎾᏁᏢᏔᏅᏒᎢ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ.