January 24, 2013 | 31#3
For a couple years Monica Peters has been writing Computer Corner for Indian Time, trying to make navigating around a computer a little easier for us computer illiterate folks. We are so very proud to announce that she has now taken her technical skills to help with the revival of the Mohawk language. She has created an app called “Talk Mohawk 2012.” She worked on the app for 3 months and Apple just recently approved it. And, so everyone can understand just what the app is and what it does, we sat down with Monica to talk about this new important endeavor.
What is the app and where can I get it?
TalkMohawk.com provides Kanienkeha language mobile apps and software. You can use your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile and more to instantly hear and see various dialects of the Mohawk language. Simply tap or click the word to hear it spoken. No training or setup is needed to start using the Mohawk language software immediately after it’s downloaded from the apple app store or any of the popular mobile software download portals.
The first mobile app is titled “Talk Mohawk 2012” and it provides audio and text of basic general translations that I use as I learn the different parts of the Thanksgiving Address, the alphabet, months, weeks, and seasons. The audio helps me practice so I can discuss the translations with my friends and family that are fluent as I work towards being able to form my own sentences – hoping to not need a machine in the very near future.
Literal translations are not provided at this time because the goal is to help brand new speakers gain enough confidence to speak in public with fluent speakers. I am scheduled to publish a new software version that builds on the previous software version, every 4 to 6 weeks.
How long did you work on the app?
Three Months. I started developing endangered language revival software in early 1996. Today, it takes me about one month to complete a mobile software project for endangered languages when I have all the text, grammar rules, and content ready. If I don’t have audio files, it takes me another week to create audio files and add them to the final software product.
You said that Apple just recently approved the app, how long did it take them to approve it?
Apple software engineers review and test each mobile app before they will approve it to be sold in their stores. If they do not approve a mobile app for their stores, they provide feedback and suggestions to the software developer to help them improve. The very first time I submitted a mobile app to Apple, it was not approved for three rounds and, man, that was so frustrating with everything I was facing in my life at the time. The Apple engineers gave me suggestions to change and improve my software each time and I followed their advice the best I could. Now I can re-use my mobile software to build new versions and updates as often as I want. I plan to submit a new version every four to six weeks and updates as needed. The whole process (idea to product distribution) can take anywhere from a week to many years.
Why did you create the app?
I hope that my endangered language revival software encourages new speakers to learn from fluent speakers and continue discussing the words and phrases they practice. I design mobile device software with the intention of helping people to break free from being chained to the machines while we are learning and researching and working hard to become fluent.
What led you to create this app?
I developed software for Asian dialects in the early 1990s for a corporation and that is when I first discovered that I could develop software tools to help me become fluent with the endangered languages that my own ancestors spoke. I attend Full Sail University and my degree focuses on mobile software development that is human friendly, intuitive, and builds on industry standards while giving me the freedom to develop truly innovative technology solutions. I chose this field of study because I’m most interested in developing and providing endangered language revival solutions that help everyone to gain fluency quickly and in a way that encourages everyone to respect and acknowledge each speakers unique accents, dialects, and world views.
What if someone has a question about the app?
You can contact me, the software developer online at www.TalkMohawk.com to ask for specific translations, voices, and software features. I am also able to negotiate volume downloads, and develop custom language software with your specific company logo, content, branding, and any endangered, dead, and even fictional (think cryptography for security tactics) language imaginable.