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Vernacular Media Strategies

Non-print media may be used in a language development program, especially among those who have not learned to read.

More than a Job

The Guatemalan NGO Viña applies its audio and video expertise to language development in everyday life. It has had great success because local stakeholders handle its operation and set a vision with high standards. Begun as part of SIL, Viña now has only one expatriate on its team and will be completely autonomous in 2002.

With the ability to translate, dub and create audio and video recordings in Mayan languages, Viña has helped the Department of Education raise awareness among Mayan peoples for literacy and basic education. In one instance, Viña provided the audio translation and recording of a literacy promotion song. In another project, Viña assisted the Department of Education by translating into the Kekchí language a radio announcement about the importance of parents educating daughters as well as sons.

Viña prides itself in the technical expertise and ability of its staff of nine Mayans. Because the end product has to do with their languages, they have very high quality standards. They are motivated to develop audio and video recording and software application skills in order to accomplish these projects. In Viña, Mayans themselves train their colleagues. The experienced members apprentice newer members and pass on their expertise through on-the-job training. As a result of this mentoring, all Mayan members catch a vision for their languages as they progress through the program. They see their work as part of a mission at Viña, and not just another job.

Viña is able to partner with other organizations because it focuses on Mayan languages. When the organization acquires new equipment, technicians at Viña network with other national colleagues in universities and professional organizations to gain necessary technical skills. This networking also allows Viña and its Mayan technicians to remain abreast of the latest technological developments.

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