I was inspired to create this application after learning about the massive and unknown problem of linguicide (the death of languages) and linguistic discrimination. In the United States, Native American children were taken away from their parents and forced to live in boarding schools where the speaking of their native language would cause punishment. Although these boarding schools no longer exist, these actions caused the death of thousands of Native American languages. This phenomenon continues today as Native American parents have no incentive to teach their children their native languages. By providing children with an easy way to learn their native language, they can help preserve their family's culture, heritage, and linguistic complexities.
PicTranslate analyzes a user-given image for the objects in the photo using Amazon Rekognition. This program searches through vast databases and detects the variety of objects and scenery in a photo. The application then takes the objects Amazon Rekognition found and runs them through Amazon Translate. This returns a translated version of the objects. In this way, children can easily take pictures of the objects around them and learn how to speak of them in their native language. PicTranslate is contained in a Flask app and uses Python to run.
I faced many challenges in the building of PicTranslate. It was difficult to integrate the Amazon Rekognition API and to collect the data returned in order to put it through the translation program. Additionally, I struggled with letting the user enter the name of the photo they would like to have analyzed. The biggest challenge was realizing that many common translators do not have Native American languages. This actually encouraged me to create this app as it is clear that Native American languages do not receive enough recognition. I am proud that I was able to overcome the difficulties with the APIs and the coding. I am also proud that I was able to research new APIs and programs that I had never used before. Learning new applications will help to expand the app in the future.
PicTranslate currently runs only on a local server through Anaconda Prompt. My goal is to translate PicTranslate into a working website or app that has a friendly user interface that kids can use. I also would like to reach out to different Native American translators and ask if they have APIs for their dictionaries that can be incorporated into this app.