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The New Arab

#Trending: Google can now translate the Kurdish language

Kurdish is an Indo-European language related to Persian and Balochi [Google]

Date of publication: 19 February, 2016

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Ever had the urge to translate a text written in Kurdish? If so, Google's now got you covered.
Google Translate added on Wednesday the long-suppressed Kurdish language to the extensive list of foreign tongues it can translate from, a decision that has been met with much jubilation from the Kurdish diaspora.

Kurdish - in its three main dialects - is spoken by around 40 million people mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

"The 13 new languages help bring a combined 120 million new people to the billions who can already communicate with Translate all over the world," Google said in a statement.

For the multilingual translation service, Google has gone with the Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish; which is spoken by about 80 percent of Kurds mainly in Turkey and Syria.

Kurmanji is written in a modified form of the Latin script, unlike the Sorani dialect, which is written in the Arabic alphabet.

The Kurdish language has a long history of being suppressed by authorities, in Turkey Kurdish was prohibited from education and broadcast media up until 2002.

It was not until 2012 that Turkey allowed Kurdish-language lessons to become an elective subject in public schools.

Syrian Kurds are forbidden from publishing books in Kurdish, however, the prohibition is no longer enforced because of the ongoing conflict.

     
      Syrians learn Kurdish in school for the first time in January [Getty]

In Iraqi Kurdistan, the official language is the Sorani dialect along with Arabic.

Kurds from around the region have flocked to social media to hail the recognition of their language.

"Kurdish has now been added as an official language in Google translate. Happy days for Kurds. Next step independence," said Zara.

British-Kurdish politician Laween Atroshi tweeted: "Excited to see Google added Kurdish language to Google Translate. Kurdish was punishable by death in some countries".

Journalist Josh Wood said: "Google Translate has just added the Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish - very useful, especially today with all the news."

Iraqi Kurdistan's representative in Austria said: "With a population of over 40 million worldwide, we are very happy to see the addition of Kurdish to Google Translate. Thank you Google!"

Along with Kurdish, Google has added Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa to the long list of languages it can translate.

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