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Second International Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace

(July 2011) Multilingualism and the Internet was the focus of a conference which drew 100 registrants from 31 countries. The Second International Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace was held 12-14 July in Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha Republic, in the Russian Federation.

“We believe that every language has inherent value, and that speakers of minority languages and other interested parties should have the tools and techniques available to protect and enhance their cultural and linguistic heritage.

In many cases around the world, we have witnessed renewed language vitality as members of a language community are equipped with the capacity to use their language in new and different areas of life.”

- William McLendon, Jr., SIL International Associate Director of Global Technology and Information Services

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Of the nearly 7,000 languages spoken worldwide today, researchers estimate only 300-500 are represented on the Internet. This conference brought together specialists from around the globe to exchange information and pursue better solutions on behalf of all language communities. Attendees were pleased to see significant developments on the technical and policy fronts since the first conference in 2008 at which the Lena Resolution was adopted.

Speaking in Russian or English, 18 plenary speakers addressed the conference. Participants also had a choice of nine breakout sessions with a total of 61 presentations for the entire conference.

Session Topics

Facilitating Multilingualism in Cyberspace

McLendon with Adama Samassekou, President of the Maaya World Network for Linguistic Diversity and Jan Henry Keskitalo, Vice President of Indigenous Affairs, Sami University College, University of the Arctic, Norway. McLendon with Adama Samassekou, President of the Maaya World Network for Linguistic Diversity and Jan Henry Keskitalo, Vice President of Indigenous Affairs, Sami University College, University of the Arctic, Norway.

William McLendon, Jr., SIL International Associate Director of Global Technology and Information Services, presented a paper in one of plenary sessions entitled, “New developments and trends to facilitate multilingualism in cyberspace.”

SIL has placed a high priority on making digital technologies accessible to all language communities. To that end, SIL software developers and other technical experts are working to develop computing solutions to facilitate representation and access for minority language communities.

McLendon’s presentation highlighted several significant areas of contribution by SIL:

In addition to these specific applications, SIL is actively involved in supporting efforts to enhance data sharing through international standards such as ISO and Unicode.

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