Viki Launches Endangered and Emerging Languages Program

Aleksey Shklyaev is on a mission — and Viki is helping him to achieve it. He heads up a worldwide community of translators known as the Berykton Lud whose members’ mission is to help develop and keep a little-known dialect spoken in Russia known as Udmurt alive.

Udmurt is spoken by only about 550,000 people in the former Soviet Union. The language is not fully supported by the Russian government, and there are very few books and only about two hours of daily television programming available in the Udmurt language.

In order to keep the Udmurt culture alive, Aleksey’s translating group — comprising technologists, scientists, journalists, doctors and students based in Moscow, Italy, Finland, Estonia and other countries — contacted Viki to add the Udmurt language to our growing list of languages for translated subtitles. In addition to the Berykton Lud, nearly a dozen organizations have contacted Viki in the last two years with the goal of preserving their languages and, by extension, their rich cultural histories.

Today, Viki and its parent company, Rakuten, have partnered with the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages to launch our new Endangered and Emerging Languages ProgramTogether, we’ll document endangered languages and assist communities with maintaining and revitalizing knowledge of their native tongues. Visit the Living Tongues channel on Viki to find out more about the organization’s amazing work.

Udmurt is now one of about 200 languages that Viki currently supports, 25 percent of which are now considered endangered or emerging languages.

When Aleksey’s group first discovered Viki, the members were thrilled. With its already licensed films and television shows, Viki provides an easy platform for the translating group to work on its Udmurt translations and expose the Udmurt language to more people around the globe. “It’s very good for cooperation,” Aleksey said.