If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – Kyrgyzstan shapes its online presence

This is an interesting story from reliable Kyrgyz news agency 24.kg on how the state is employing its expertise to create an alternative space in the Western dominated internet. Ostensibly a factual account of the Ministry of Education’s input into developing Kyrgyz language information on Wikipedia and Google Translate, it could equally be argued that this has deeper implication for the way Kyrgyzstan sees itself in the world. Rather than allow others to tell the country’s story, the government of Kyrgyzstan is taking its destiny into its own hands, allowing for its own narrative (of how the language should operate, of the country’s history etc) to come through. Another interesting observation is the top-down nature of these projects, where in many other countries input into web 2.0 projects like Wikipedia and Google Translate are organic developments by motivated individuals or groups. That could tell us something both about the Kyrgyz state’s level of confidence and trust in the population, and/or equally about the aspirations of Kyrgyz people to contribute to traditionally English-language dominated websites.

Here’s the article, reproduced from and copyright 24.kg:

Education Ministry of Kyrgyzstan contributes to development of Wikipedia in state language

20/10/15 07:58, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency, by Kanykei MANASOVA

The Education and Science Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic has joined the development of Wikipedia in state (Kyrgyz) language. The ministry reported.

According to it, the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic provided Wikipedia developers with a list of 50,000 words including grammatical categories for posting on the portal, created within compiling the frequency state language dictionary “Kyrgyz Tilinin Zhyshtyk Sozdoru.” There is also created the Kyrgyz language version of Google Translate, which is developed by the Director of Our Heritage Foundation Chorobek Saadanbekov.

At present, the Ministry of Education and Wikipedia developers established cooperation and outlined plans for further implementation of the tasks to improve the status of the state language. Earlier, the National Library hosted a presentation of Wikipedia in the Kyrgyz language.

URL: http://www.eng.24.kg/community/177590-news24.html

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