Chilean Tribe Take On Microsoft Over Translation

Mapuche Indians in Chile are trying to take global software giant Microsoft to court in a legal battle which raises the question of whether anyone can ever "own" the language they speak. The row was sparked by Microsoft's decision last month to launch its Windows software package in Mapuzugun, a Mapuche tongue spoken by around 400,000 indigenous Chileans, mostly in the south of the country. At the launch in the southern town of Los Sauces, Microsoft said it wanted to help Mapuches embrace the digital age and "open a window so that the rest of the world can access the cultural riches of this indigenous people". But Mapuche tribal leaders have accused the U.S. company of violating their cultural and collective heritage by translating the software into Mapuzugun without their permission. They even sent a letter to Microsoft founder Bill Gates accusing his company of "intellectual piracy". "We feel like Microsoft and the Chilean Education Ministry have overlooked us by deciding to set up a committee (to study the issue) without our consent, our participation and without the slightest consultation," said Aucan Huilcaman, one of the Mapuche leaders behind the legal action. "This is not the right road to go down."

Microsoft declined to comment on the case, saying they could not do so until it is legally resolved. The company has translated Windows into dozens of indigenous American languages in the past, including Mohawk, Quechua and Inuktitut, but has never faced such vocal opposition. If history is anything to go by, however, the software giant could have a fight on its hands. The Mapuche are renowned for their ferocity. They were one of the few tribes in South America to successfully resist both the Incas, who tried to colonize their lands, and the Spanish, who ruled much of South America for more than two centuries. The Mapuche took their case to a court in the southern city of Temuco earlier this month but a judge ruled it should be considered in Santiago. A judge in the capital is due to decide in the next two weeks whether Microsoft has a case to answer.

News source: Bink.NU
Also See: Microsoft.com

"If they rule against us we will go to the Supreme Court and if they rule against us there we will take our case to a court of human rights," said Lautaro Loncon, a Mapuche activist and coordinator of the Indigenous Network, an umbrella group for several ethnic groups in Chile. Huilcaman said the Chilean government, which supported Microsoft's project, should concentrate on making Mapuzugun an official state language, alongside Spanish. "If not, we fear it runs the risk of following the same destiny as Latin, spoken only in universities," he said.

Mapuzugun is spoken by about two-thirds of Chile's Mapuches, who make up four percent of the population. The case has sparked comment on Internet blogs. Many Chileans appear to feel it is absurd for the Mapuche to claim the intellectual rights to their language, and say the Indians should be pleased to see it used on the world wide Web.

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Two Words... Rosetto Stone

Barring serious catastrophe, the world is only going to get smaller in the future. Where we have hundreds of languages today, less than a hundred will be actively used at the turn of the next century. Historians will look back on these old translations as a Rosetto Stone of sorts to translate lost and dead languages. People will be grateful that Microsoft did indeed do all these translations and include so many cultures. Much like North American English is a mishmash of other languages, other languages will become more homogenous over time as well.

Oh, get over yourselves. No one can "own" a culture or language and if anythign this is a nice gesture and compliment.

Here's an idea: If you don't like it, don't use it.

I wonder if they bring lawsuits against authors who write books about their culture or language?

Those monkeys should be flattered that MS took the time and trouble to translate windows into their primitive simian tongue.

Quote - Shiranui said @ #36
Those monkeys should be flattered that MS took the time and trouble to translate windows into their primitive simian tongue.

Perfect example of an as***le...

Trully man you had problems... If you live in a place with latest technology good for you... If some people like's the way they live without it good for them... trully I find this kind of people brainless...

this is just another example of ms raping the mapuche people. haven't the mapucheans suffered enough at the hands of bill gates and his thugs? when will the madness end? wmp11 is cutting down the rainforests that these beautiful people rely on. and don't even get me started on the horrors inflicted on little pepe and his family by the evil, corporate xp calculator.

wake up people. the revolution is NOW!!

Well as I can see nobody here's know anything about Mapuche's and they history...

They have never beenasked for anything, they just seem to have no rights... If they do something to be heard they are sended to the jail... I'm not talking about taking actions agains microsoft... I'm talking about theyhave never been askedfor anything (damn space bar) so obviously they are p*ss off on this thing...

Then for someone to spread their voice to something so widely used as Windows should only be seen as a good thing. They should take up their fight with the Chileans and the Spaniards. I imagine when you say they haven't been asked for anything its more along the lines of taking without asking, not expanding accesibility and not asking.

The best analogy was used above with the wheelchair. Should every disabled person be asked before ramps are built?

Some people, some tribes likes the way they are
NP, buddy. We'll remember that next time they have a natural disaster or need vaccinations or other assistance. The only thing funnier than your post is the topic of this thread. You've seen too many Disney movies, dude.

Well, if Apple is allowed to go on a Holy Crusade through the Corporate World cleanse the Microsoft-infested Land of all Unholy Usage of the Word "Pod" then wouldn't that tribe be able to Own their Tongue as well?

Please excuse me while I patent my username and all of my personal information so that it cannot be Abused in an Unholy Manner.

Mmm usually I'm in the same team as the rest of you people... But this time I just had to say that almost all of you are talking b*ll s**t...

I live in Chile, I'm chilean but not Mapuche... In Chile, the Mapuches fight against Spain for they territory... The goverment in Chile allways has oppresed them taking their lands and culture as if where turism stuff...

Now, they wasn't consulted about a Windows in MAPUDUNGUN (The name of their language in spanish)... And they are tired of this kind of s***...

For a lot of you people "technology, future, modernization" are just words... Some people, some tribes likes the way they are... The chilean goverment has trashed the Mapuches rights a lot of times in search of their modernization...

So... I might not write good in english, I might be losing my time trying to explain the real facts... But the true is that a lot of the people that has posted here are just as***les ...

In spanish I might say "Si no sabe, no opine, NO JODA"...

In english would be something like " If it does not know, it does not think, not ****" or something like that...

So go f*** another place...

Someone's aggressive.

Nobody said the natives had to BUY windows. Windows was just TRANSLATED to that language. It's like building a wheelchair accessible ramp in front of your store and have disabled people sue you for it.

Quote - billyea said @ #31.1
Someone's aggressive.

Nobody said the natives had to BUY windows. Windows was just TRANSLATED to that language. It's like building a wheelchair accessible ramp in front of your store and have disabled people sue you for it.


Very good and fitting analogy :)
Also concerning what they said:
"...we fear it runs the risk of following the same destiny as Latin, spoken only in universities," he said.
When they savagely attack anyone who helps their language to get more exposure, then this will *definitely* happen very soon!

No language is the possession of anyone, and you certainly don't need any permission to translate something in whatever language, that would be absolutely ludicrous.

"If not, we fear it runs the risk of following the same destiny as Latin, spoken only in universities," he said.

Perhaps someone ought to gently point this idiot in the direction of the Vatican...
Latin (not as a language, but from a terminological direction) is "spoken" throughout the planet. Romantic languages derived from Latin (hence the name, duh), scientists routinely use it for naming stuff.

We all, even i, cant understand the tribe positioning. We have cultural absence to discuss this matter, my position goes for the tie. Cultural, sociological experts with profound knowledge of this civilazation ou language in question are the oes that can untie this.

Tribes have been bashed with modern society, losing many of their belongings, and im not just saying materially.

I think they have a thing to say about their own language.

Conclusion: Its out of our "tiny" prespective to say if they are doing right or wrong.

If that's the way that the tribe wants it, just pull the translation and burn the code. If they want to live in the stone age until they eventually assimilate and lose their identity and language, that's their right. Microsoft tries to do them a favor and they get sued. I can understand and respect their desire to keep their language to themselves, but suing over what's a good deed is far too aggressive. That's what most people are commenting on here.

BTW, does that mean that all of us English speakers who don't live in the UK will have to learn a new languange?

I don't see how this is going to get anywhere.

Copyright is similar most places around the world thanks to globalisation, i.e. death + 50/60 years.

But firstly they have to sort of the copyright holder. Because it's a language the holder would be a several hundred years deceased loosely organised collation of people. There is no way the copyright holder could firstly be identified, and secondly still hold the copyright.

As for the translation itself, it was created under contract for Microsoft, therefore Microsoft hold copyright over that single work of art. Remember, it's not a language Microsoft have, it's a piece of artwork created in the language, therefore the language is only a tool which delivers the art, in this case the art is the meaning of all the language strings in windows.

I really do find this whole thing to be absurd. I mean Microsoft offering an olive branch here so they don't have to give up their language in every day life (what can I say, Globalisation), and been rudely shown the door.

Couldn't they have simply asked for an apology rather than taking this to court? I can understand the principle of the argument as they had no involvement in the decision making, but this is a tad extreme.

Wow, this article really has brought out the xenophobics, racists, *******s and ignorant today.

Why must everyone start insulting the members of that tribe? Do you know anything about them or their culture? Do you know how advanced they may be? I seriously doubt it. This is not some Amazonian 'primitive' (a misnomer if ever there was one, all cultures have had equal time to develop) collective or a couple of people, this a large proportion of a society.

And then, to those who defend this joke for a lawsuit, do you actually have a good reason other than to bash Microsoft? Is there really a good basis behind it? Can you explain how someone can own a language?

We'll find out soon enough.

A related (though not exactly similar) issue is what happened here in Canada over the French language during the 60's and 70's, and the issue still exists today.

Quote - Kirkburn said @ #25
Wow, this article really has brought out the xenophobics, racists, *******s and ignorant today.

Why must everyone start insulting the members of that tribe? Do you know anything about them or their culture? Do you know how advanced they may be? I seriously doubt it. This is not some Amazonian 'primitive' (a misnomer if ever there was one, all cultures have had equal time to develop) collective or a couple of people, this a large proportion of a society.

and you know what the sad thing is... that mods are doing s***... instead if you insult an US citizien or a european citizen or you use the N word well you know how that could go...

These Mapucha are really bloody retarded! :suspicious:
They should be happy they get some more exposure for their language, for free even.

And you wonder why some languages and cultures are becoming extinct?

Privacy? So you're not permitted to hear what I say because if you do you're violating my privacy by knowing which language and/or understanding the words I speak.

Having the ability to use a language does not give the rights of ownership. It's similar to the case of patent. I guess only the sole creators of the language have the right to say. I'm taking a wild shot that at this moment we're unable to pin point to any particular individual or group as the creator. And I don't think anyone will even dare to challenge that fact and provide any/enough evidences.

This is just total non-sense and I can't believe I actually wasted some out of the 300,000 strokes per key life expectency of my keyboard to type out a comment.

[font=Arial]They are loosers and hate north america and everything coming from the US, they are using the oportunity to express their hate for everything that is not mapuche. They hate the rest of chilean population.
I hope the judge turns down their claim.

I smell a greedy lawyer more than ignorant tribesmen


I'm guessing a lawyer showed up, fed the Tribal Leaders a bunch of BS, just to get them to allow him to sue MS

Yes, they are losers. They have been losing since the Spanish conquerors got there. They are poor, and that action shows hows improper was all that...

The whole thing is ridiculous from start: those people are a small tribe that interacts with their Government in the official language of the country, Spanish. So, why on Earth would be any foreign company translate a sophisticated software for them????? A small village somewhere in Latin America?????

And don't come with that kind of condescending "ohhhh, the company was so kind to translate the OS to their language, and look how they pay back. Bad tribe!! Bad tribe!!"...

The guys saw how hypocritical all that was, and are trying to make some bucks out of it...

Cirde

Where do you live by the way?

By any chance do you know anything about politics, economics or minorities?

And this thing surrounding the world called Capitalism? And how do they relate?

Yeah, those damn ****** spanish conquerors.

Haha.

Well, being Chilean i really find this stupid...
The guy who placed this lawsuit its a total ignorant.
He just thinks that the "Mapuche" culture, language, and etc, belongs just to THEM, that everything you do with something related to it, MUST INCLUDE THEM, which is stupid...
They are saying here at least, that they're not included in the society and blah blah, hell, we're brining the world to them by translating Windows to "Mapudungun" and they act like that?
To me, even its one of our main tribes, they can go to hell if they keep acting like that.

Because actually, the Mapuche culture belongs to just THEM. And it must include THEM if they are trying to protect their culture (as in the article states).

Maybe you can go back and take a look again in your country, because the last time I saw it, indigenous people in Latin America were treated like **** (even in Mexico, where I live).

So yeah, you are not that far from ignorance either, since you are already acting like you are superior and if you owned them or something.

I'll quote you:
"we're brining the world to them"
"even its one of our main tribes"

See? Pathetic.

Quote - Rodrigo said @ #9.1
Because actually, the Mapuche culture belongs to just THEM. And it must include THEM if they are trying to protect their culture (as in the article states).

Maybe you can go back and take a look again in your country, because the last time I saw it, indigenous people in Latin America were treated like **** (even in Mexico, where I live).

So yeah, you are not that far from ignorance either, since you are already acting like you are superior and if you owned them or something.

I'll quote you:
"we're brining the world to them"
"even its one of our main tribes"

See? Pathetic.

So Rodrigo tell me something..

If make some food like their culture make, is it wrong??

If i speak their language is that wrong??

Wait.. If i write some letter with Mapuche language is that wrong?

One thing is to abuse their culture, other is using it in a free world..

And using their language to speak and write is not Abuse..

If you think it is, then you're just a an arrogant person who thinks that for speaking your language and writing with it you're loosing you culture.. Mapuche should be proud that their language is being taken seriously by Microsoft, because if not, they would have to use some English version, that doesn't mean anything to them..

For me this may mean one thing.. They think that they are superior to everyone else, and that only those Mapuche people should use it.. That's impression this story gives and nothing else..

Oh and by the way i'm from portugal, and here we have portuguese version of windows with proud, because people here want to use their language natively in everything.. We apreciate any software company that uses portuguese in their software

From someone who has grown up in various Latin American countries, this sounds like the typical anti-American sentiment where they will use any excuse to take a swipe at an American company.

BTW, since it's another thing that I always heard down there "We're also American, just South American." The term American here refers to people from the United States of America. Just like a lot of county's official name is longer, such as the Republic of Chile where Chileans come from, the full name is not normally used. Venezuela used to be known as the United States of Venezuela and people from there are Venezuelans. Okay, I'm done with my rant.

Your rant is pretty wicked and ignorant.

Sorry, but there is no anti-American sentiment here, and you are kind of wrong with your last paragraph. To me it seems you must take again that latin/greek roots course, because you failed it miserably (you can't obviously understand some of the **** you are saying). I'm not even going to bother and try to explain you why the term "American" is used widespreadly wrong and why they are called Chileans or Venezuelans. But well, what can I tell you when you think everyone in Latin America is anti-American? A shame if you ask me, and pretty sad, haha.

I'm not chilean, but I can understand why they are doing this. They are protecting their diallect (which sometimes is part of a religious culture) and Microsoft, after the letter was sent, did ****.

So while this action is a little excessive, we are living in the XXI century and that's how things are sorted out. You guys are just amazed a tribe is doing this because well, you think they live in movie-like situations.

Quote - Rodrigo said @ #8.1
Your rant is pretty wicked and ignorant. (...and then some random rabbling and more insults)

I have no idea what your problem is, but I'd suggest taking it elsewhere.

Microsoft have no case to answer, as no-one 'owns' a language such as this. Judging by your other comments, you're either in a very angry mood today, or seriously need to change your outlook on life.

Rodrigo, judging by your other posts you obviously came here to disagree with anyone who disagrees with the Chilean indians. That's fine but what I'm conveying is not some strange thought of what people may or may not think. It's what I lived personally in various countries at various times. It's like you telling a black person that they didn't feel discriminated against in the 60s. I don't think everyone feels like that in Latin America but the sentiment (mainly among thos of college age) is there.

I think their elder leaders of their tribes, fear the digital world and that the young peoples abadon their old things and become modern.

This can't be real..

Because if it is, what a bunch of losers..

So Microsoft makes translation for them with their language, no one in the world needs or cares about their language, so its only for them..

So if google makes a www.google.Mapuche with Mapuche language they will take them to court??

What about linux?? If any one makes a Mapuche language distribuiton, hell let's take the linux people to court, just because they are trying to help the Mapuche..

This is absurd.. And before someone says " They didn't ask permission " I say, what about English, portuguese, Spanish, Rusian?? Does any software company asks permission??

Jesus, there are some strange people in the wortd..

Quote - Digitalfox said @ #4
This can't be real..

Because if it is, what a bunch of losers..

So Microsoft makes translation for them with their language, no one in the world needs or cares about their language, so its only for them..

They're angry that the MS translation of the Mapuchean word for God was changed to Bill Gates, that every reference to Linux was replaced with toilet, and that MS translated "Macintosh" into "fruitcake." Now there's all these confused Mapucheans going around saying strange things to English speakers and getting beat up.