Navajo community members translate human body app

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Combining a native language with a STEM-related app. That was the focus of a community event that brought together people of all ages Saturday.

“It is traditional language coupled with emerging technology,” organizer and elementary school educator Rachel Thomas said.

How do you say clavicle or humerus in Najavo?

“The app itself is about the human body it’s completely interactive,” she said.

These are just some of the words Navajo community members, preschool-aged to senior citizens, came together to translate Saturday into the traditional language.

“The CEO built the app with a global mindset,” Thomas explained.

That app is called Human Body, by Tiny Bop.

“Once we have our Navajo translation then any student or adult or anyone else can see what all of these would be called in Navajo,” Thomas said.

“This language is one that you really wouldn’t want to forget,” said Jonathan Hannig

The app helps users identify all parts of the human body.

“For some of the words, we go by their function,” Hannig explained.

Volunteers say it can be difficult to translate these words into Navajo, but the hard task will be worth it.

The app can also come in handy when it comes to translating important medical terms or body parts during a doctors appointment, said Anthony Patero. “A lot of doctors come from out of state,” he said. “They don’t understand the language and then with the older generation a lot of them don’t talk English they don’t understand English.

Anthony Platero was one of the volunteers Saturday.

“With that gap between the older and new generation, it’s hard for the young Navajo to translate,” he said.

Beyond the practical uses, volunteers say it’s also a good way for Navajo generations to learn from one another.

“It’s really fun to talk to the other people in Navajo,” Hannig said.

The event was put on by two APS teachers who have been recognized for their work in innovative education.

They hope to continue working with the community to translate the Human Body app and maybe take on other apps in the future.

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