Faroe Islands creates its version of Google Translate after tech giant snub

The isolated North Atlantic archipelago of 18 islands located between Iceland, Norway and Scotland's Shetlands has created its own translation service after an apparent snub by tech giant Google.

With a growing tourism market, the Faroe Islands realised that not being included on Google Translate has frustrated visitors wanting to experience traditional culture by learning a few phrases in Faroese.

Faroe Islands Translate allows prospective tourists to convert queries and phrases into Faroese, PR Newswire reported. 

The new website uses local volunteers to create translation videos that can be sent back so that people will not only be able to learn the words in Faroese but also see a local speaking the language.

The country's prime minister, Aksel V. Johannesen, recorded a YouTube video explaining to Google the importance of the Faroese language.

"Now visitors come from all over the world, eager to experience our beautiful country and our culture," Mr Johannesen said.

"They want to learn a bit of our language, but unfortunately this is proving difficult because you have not included our language in Google Translate.

"We hope that we can once again help each other out.

"We, the Faroese, along with thousands of tourists, business associates and scholars would be immensely grateful if you could add the Faroese language to Google Translate." 

The help of volunteers to record video translations showed the Faroese were willing to take matters into their own hands, project manager Levi Hanssen said.

"In doing so, we will also build up a video database that visually and audibly logs the Faroese language, something that's never been done before," he said.

Faroe Island's alternative to Google's street view
Faroe Island's alternative to Google's street view

The stoush is the second time the Faroese have taken on Google. 

Last year, the Faroese took a different approach in petitioning to be included on Google Streetview by creating their own version, using cameras mounted on the backs of sheep.

Calling it 'Sheepview', the campaign gained worldwide interest, reaching the attention of the tech giant and eventually succeeding in its goal.

The country has a population of just over 50,000 with an estimated 80,000 speaking Faroese worldwide. 

Source: SBS World News