Meta makes Inuktitut an official language on Facebook desktop

The Inuit language makes up the more than 100 languages available on Facebook

Facebook users can now translate their feeds to the Inuktitut language’s South Baffin dialect through desktop.

The news, shared by Facebook parent company Meta, is the result of a four-year partnership with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) to promote the use of the language.

Inuktitut is an Inuit language spoken in Nunavut and has many dialects.

Meta says the translated version is available globally, including to the 35,000 residents across the Inuit Nunangat where Inuktitut is listed as the mother tongue.

NTI president Aluki Kotierk met with the company back in 2018, sharing the idea with Meta executives to promote the daily use of the language.

“Inuit expect to see and hear Inuktut in all aspects of our lives. Recognizing Inuktitut as an official language on Facebook, equal to English and French, reinforces the legitimacy of our language,” Kotierk said. “Being able to access Facebook in our own language is an important and concrete step towards seeing and hearing Inuktut in all aspects of our lives.”

Inuktut is a term that represents official languages spoken in Nunavut, and Inuktitut is one of those languages. 

Facebook is the most used social network in Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, the press release states, citing a report from Media Technology Monitor.

The Pirurvik Centre led the translation aspects of the project. Based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the learning centre translated approximately 4,500 words. Meta notes new concepts were created as some terms didn’t have equivalents in Inuktitut, including the term “Facebook page.” It now translates to “Facebook makpigaq.”

“The Facebook desktop interface was prioritized for this pilot as Inuktitut is a polysynthetic language, meaning Inuktitut words are longer and more complex when compared to their equivalents in English and French,” Debbie Reid, Indigenous Policy Manager at Meta told MobileSyrup. “We will continue to work with NTI and Pirurvik to explore expanding these language settings to other platforms.”

How to change the language to Inuktitut’s South Baffin dialect

  • Click the horizontal three bars on the top right corner.
  • Go down to ‘settings & privacy’ and then click ‘settings.’
  • Click ‘language and region’ and make your selection.

Source: Meta