There are currently around 7.000 languages spoken all over the world - but each two weeks a language dies. In general we see a strong tendency to learn and use only the major languages such as English, German, French, etc., especially in electronic communication. This is partly caused by the lack of hardware (e.g. keyboards) and software (for transliteration, text completion, etc.) for lesser-used languages, which constrain the natural usage of people’s own language in many tasks. Our goal is to turn that process in exactly the other direction: every successful technology can also be used to teach, revitalize and therefore boost the use of regional languages. This technology should also assist the renewal of local languages and cultures by allowing people to actively teach, learn, extend, and spread their language in their community. Our aim is to give people the ability to use their mother tongue in everyday electronic communication, no matter where they are and whatever language they speak.
The Poio project develops language technologies to support communication in lesser-used and under-resourced languages on and with electronic devices. Within the Poio project we develop text input services with text prediction and transliteration for mobile devices and desktop users to allow conversation in hundreds of languages between individuals and in online communities. Poio started as a language revitalization project at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation in Minde/Portugal, a non-profit organization dedicated to the documentation and preservation of linguistic heritage.