How do you save a language from destruction?

How do you save a language from destruction?


Like plant and animal species, languages can go extinct, and they are doing so at a rapid pace. Currently, according to Ethnologue, a catalog of all the world's languages, there are about 7,000 spoken, living languages. However, more than 40 percent of those are endangered languages, and many of those languages have fewer than 1,000 living speakers. Thus, language diversity could decline rapidly in the coming years.

At Scriptware Translations, we keep our languages alive and kicking!

Whether you need a translation in a major or an endangered language, for large or small projects, we are happy to help. Contact us for the possibilities or request a quote without obligation.

Languages disappear for various reasons, when speakers of them die out or start using another language. It is not a new phenomenon, but languages are dying out faster than they used to. Sometimes entire groups of native speakers are wiped out by wars, natural disasters or poor living conditions. Other times, another language is imposed on the population from above, through political repression or in more subtle ways by offering significant advantages to speakers of another language (such as access to education, better jobs, higher social status).

When languages are lost, cultures and traditions that are closely linked to language are often lost as well. Thus, by keeping endangered languages alive, we encourage not only the diversity of language, but also the diversity of art, ideologies, knowledge and unique worldviews. Consequently, there are several organizations working to preserve endangered languages. The following are some of those projects.

Endangered Languages Project (ELP)

The Endangered Languages Project aims to use modern tools and technology to collect and share information about endangered languages. The website features data on the languages and their speakers, videos and other reference materials. Visitors can view the information, as well as actively contribute by suggesting updates or adding text, audio or visual materials of their own. Through documentation and education, the ELP hopes to keep languages alive and reduce the rate at which they are disappearing.


Wikitongues is a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and revitalizing languages. The organization aims to promote language diversity by collecting video materials and compiling glossaries for every language in the world. They make the collected information available worldwide so that people can share and teach languages.


On the site, you can watch videos of contributors speaking in their native language. You can also sign up for a mailing list to receive information and news about language and culture. Wikitongues also supports initiatives to preserve languages. Their Language Sustainability Toolkit provides speakers of endangered languages with tools to keep their language alive.


Woolaroo is a project of Google Arts & Culture. In this app, users can interactively learn about languages threatened with extinction. The tool uses Google Translate and Cloud Vision. Based on image recognition, you get real-time translation of objects detected in your photo.


The app currently supports 10 languages, including the Aboriginal language Yugambeh (fluently spoken by only 18 people, although there are probably hundreds with a basic understanding of the language) and Louisiana Creole, which is spoken by fewer than 10,000 people in Louisiana, USA. If you speak any of the languages, you can add and edit your own words to keep the language alive.

Your chances of speaking an endangered language may be slim, but if you have an interest in language and culture, these projects are well worth your time. They offer countless interesting facts, additional reading material and insights into the world's many languages.

Rated With a 9.3 Based on 751 Reviews

Iwan Imamdi
No comment is just right
Leyla Kizgin
Love to work with you
Tim de Jong
Everything fine, keep up the good work
Nicky Geelen
Again very good here.I always come back.
Andrea Fernandez
Perfect service! :-)
Rebecca Van den Brink
Good service!