Gmail’s 57th Language Is Cherokee

Terms like "inbox", "sign in" or "spam" now have Cherokee equivalents

It may not sound like much for most of the users, but it is an amazing thing not only for the Cherokee language, which, as you may imagine, is not too widely spread, but for Google as well, because it is an effort very few would even think to make.

For this, the Gmail team worked closely with the language technology department at the Cherokee Nation in order to find out the appropriate Cherokee terms for “inbox” (ᎧᏁᏌᎢᏱ) or “sign in” (ᏕᏣᏙᎥ ᎰᏪᎸᎦ).

According to a survey conducted in 2002 by the Cherokee Nation, no one under 40 years of age used Cherokee in conversations and most children of fluent speakers did not speak it at all.

The one that started the project on making Gmail (and Google Web Search) available in Cherokee is Google engineer Craig Cornelius that happened to carpool with Vance Blackfox, member of the Cherokee Nation, from an event they both attended.

And the result is that the younger generation that does not speak Cherokee can rely on technology to communicate with their elders in a way that was not possible before.

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