Speakers of Aymara, the indigenous language common in the Andes of southern Peru and the Altiplano of Bolivia, may soon be able to use Facebook in their own language.
“The translation is done directly between English and Aymara, without using Spanish as a bridge,” said Ruben Hilaria, a coordinator at Jaqi-Aru, which promotes the use of Aymara on the Internet.
The translation is about 60 percent complete. Jaqi-Aru said that programmers from Facebook said that they need to translate 90 percent of the words on Facebook in order for Aymara to be officially named as a language on the social networking site.
“The [team] is now advancing with the translation of the content on Facebook so that Aymara can become one of the more than 70 language options that the social network currently has,” said Hilaria.
Hilaria estimated that they will complete the translations by September this year.
Jaqi-Aru’s other projects include working with Wikipedia to increase the number of articles on the Aymara version of online encyclopedia. Jaqi-Aru said that as of December 2011, there were about 1,600 articles available on the Aymara version. At the time there were 3.8 million Wikipedia articles in English and more than 850,000 in Spanish.
There are roughly two million Aymara-speaking people living in southern Peru and the Lake Titicaca area, Bolivia, and parts of northwest Argentina and northern Chile. The country with the largest percentage of Aymara speakers is Bolivia, whose president, Evo Morales, is an Aymara. With a population of just over 10 million, Bolivia’s Aymara people make up about 1.2 million of the population, making it the second largest ethnic group in the Andean country after the Quechua (with 2 million).