The Sierra Leonean Krio is among the latest languages to find its way on the Google Translate Service.
Krio is an English-based Creole language of Sierra Leone. It is the first language of about 350,000 people and is used as a lingua franca by over 4 million. It is spoken by 87% of Sierra Leone’s population.
With many growing content creators, there have been calls for Sierra Leone to be added to YouTube Partner Program, as a Google Subsidiary.
With migration, however, there are also Krio-speaking communities in The Gambia, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and other parts of Africa.
There are many accounts and theories on the history of the Krio Language. However, many agree that it’s a mixed dialect derived from many languages.
As the Lingua Franca of the West African nation, Krio serves as a common tool for daily interactions in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Abdulai Walon Jalloh is the Head of the Department for Language Studies at Fourah College, University of Sierra Leone. He was part of a team that worked on Sierra Leonean dialect translations for Google.
“So for the fact that Krio is now very visible, it means Sierra Leoneans who can read and write and understand Krio will be able to use the Sierra Leone Autography to communicate on the Google Platform. Languages we are told are our identities, they represent who we are, and they are what we’ll call the DNA of every culture. In fact, the world is a dynamic place simply because we communicate using languages and the fact that we are using one of our own to engage on Google, it means that our languages are technologically relevant, that our society can transmit our culture, and we can translate our attitude,” said Dr. Walon Jalloh.
Language barriers can pose serious problems when it comes to communicating.
Many see the recent development by Google as a great move for international cooperation. Ayodele George is a Sierra Leonean student.
“Our country has been going through a lot, so if an opportunity like this has been given on to us, it’s a pleasure. This will help boost our country’s economy in various ways,” said Ayodele George.
When a lot of people come into our country, they’re finding our language a little bit difficult. Also in some aspects again as well. But since we are at that peak now at Google. So our language will serve as an experience to others.”
This recent development is not only welcomed by Sierra Leoneans and language experts. But also Content creators that have been advocating for Sierra Leone to be included in the YouTube Partnership Program.
“So I think it’s a good move. Now maybe Youtube can add Sierra Leone as a partner, and hopefully, it can serve as a motivation to follow YouTubers in Sierra Leone to keep putting up content on YouTube. It’s gonna be good; for me as a YouTuber, it’s actually been stressful putting out content. Even though I have like 1200+ Subscribers. But it’s actually good news for us,” said Raymond Williams, a content creator from Sierra Leone.
Among the 24 newly added languages, ten (10) are from Africa; including Twi from Ghana, Oromo from Ethiopia, Lingala from Central Africa and Tsonga from Southern Africa.
The tech giant now has a total of 133 languages.