Abstract of academic article by Sergio Romero

Bill Gates speaks K’ichee’! The corporatization of linguistic revitalization in Guatemala

Based on the study of the recent development of the K’ichee’ Facebook platform and Microsoft Windows’ K’ichee’ version, I discuss the conflict between Western and Maya language ideologies embodied in current translation practices in Guatemala. International corporations prefer hiring individual translators and consultants and avoid engaging the indigenous institutions charged with standardization and linguistic revitalization. The lack of community sanction for local corporate proxies leads to contestation of the translators’ credentials and provokes community turmoil. It also highlights opposed community views of globalization and of the best strategies to cope with the challenges and opportunities it affords. Finally, I examine the consequences for indigenous language revitalization of the current political economy of social media and corporate software.

Official Citation:  Romero, S., Bill Gates speaks K’ichee’! The corporatization of linguistic revitalization in Guatemala, Language & Communication (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2015.08.001