What is Language Endangerment

In a world where linguistic diversity weaves the rich tapestry of human communication, the haunting shadow of language endangerment looms ominously. Language, a fundamental pillar of culture, identity, and heritage, can be on the brink of extinction due to language endangerment. This perilous situation threatens not only the words and grammatical structures but also the very essence of entire communities.
Lucky Eze
25 min

In a world where linguistic diversity weaves the rich tapestry of human communication, the haunting shadow of language endangerment looms ominously. Language, a fundamental pillar of culture, identity, and heritage, can be on the brink of extinction due to language endangerment. This perilous situation threatens not only the words and grammatical structures but also the very essence of entire communities.

Language endangerment occurs when a native language, often called an indigenous language, faces a critical decline in usage, speakers, and intergenerational transmission. The loss of these unique linguistic systems reduces linguistic diversity, undermining the intricate mosaic of human expression that thrives across the globe. Venetian, Sicilian, Low Saxon, Belarusian, Lombard, Romani, and Yiddish (Israel) are all endangered to varying degrees, with some being vulnerable and others definitely endangered, according to UNESCO.

As the world's languages become increasingly interconnected, some flourish while others teeter on the edge of oblivion. The term endangered languages encapsulate the urgency of preserving these fading linguistic treasures. With approximately 7,000 languages spoken today, a startling 40% of them are considered endangered, struggling to be heard longer said, above the dominant roar of more widely spoken languages.

This blog post delves deep into the heart of the matter, exploring the causes and consequences of language loss and endangerment. We'll uncover the cultural significance intertwined with linguistic vitality and discuss the efforts and strategies employed to breathe new life into endangered languages. Join us on this journey to understand why language endangerment demands our attention as we champion the cause of safeguarding linguistic diversity and the invaluable cultural heritage it encompasses.

Factors Contributing to Language Endangerment

The intricate web of language diversity that spans the globe is now under siege, with endangered languages facing a multitude of challenges that threaten their very existence. Understanding the complex factors contributing to language endangerment is crucial for devising effective strategies to preserve and revitalize these linguistic treasures.

Globalization and Cultural Shifts

The rapid march of globalization has led to the dominance of a few major languages in various spheres, such as education, media, and commerce. As societies shift towards using these dominant languages, indigenous and minority languages are often sidelined. The allure of economic opportunities tied to dominant languages can lead younger generations to forsake their native first language in favor of other languages, perceived as more valuable in a globalized world.

Inter-generational Transmission Breakdown

One of the most critical factors contributing to the decline of endangered languages is the breakdown of inter-generational transmission within indigenous populations. As younger generations gravitate towards more widely spoken languages, the traditional passing down of linguistic heritage from older to younger community members diminishes. Without this vital transmission, the lifeline of the indigenous language is severed, and the language faces an imminent threat of extinction.

Cultural Stigma and Marginalization

Endangered languages are often associated with rural or marginalized communities, which can lead to linguistic and cultural stigmatization. This can cause speakers of these languages to feel ashamed or embarrassed, further accelerating the language shift. In some cases, governments or dominant social or ethnic groups may actively discourage the use of native languages, favoring the imposition of a single official language and further marginalizing threatened languages.

Lack of Institutional Support

Inadequate support from educational institutions and government policies can be a death knell for endangered languages. These languages struggle to be integrated into formal education systems without proper resources and recognition. The absence of written materials, dictionaries, and other resources as language-learning tools make it challenging to transmit the language to future generations, perpetuating the cycle of endangerment.

Urbanization and Migration

Rural-to-urban migration can disrupt the delicate balance of language use within a community. As indigenous people move to urban centers, they are often exposed to dominant languages, leading to a shift away from their indigenous languages. This migration can also result in linguistic fragmentation within communities, as speakers of a dialect of the same language are scattered across different regions.

Natural Disasters and Conflicts

Tragic events such as natural disasters and conflicts can have severe repercussions for endangered languages. Displacement, trauma, and the need to assimilate into new communities can cause speakers to abandon their native language in an effort to adapt to new circumstances. In post-conflict or post-disaster scenarios, the revival of an endangered language can become a challenging endeavor.

In preserving linguistic diversity, it is crucial to recognize and address these multifaceted factors contributing to language endangerment. Efforts to revitalize endangered languages must be holistic and tailored to the unique socio-cultural context of each community. By championing the cause of linguistic heritage and promoting the value of each unique voice, we can hope to reverse the tide of language endangerment and ensure that the world's linguistic tapestry remains vibrant and diverse.

The Importance of Linguistic Diversity

In a world where linguistic diversity is both a reflection of human ingenuity and a testament to our shared heritage, preserving endangered languages takes on a profound significance. Linguistic diversity pertains to the assortment of languages spoken within a specific area or among a particular group. These linguistic gems, intricately woven into the cultural fabric of communities, hold keys to unique worldviews, histories, and identities that enrich the global tapestry of human experience.

Preserving Cultural Identity

Language is far more than a tool for communication; it is a repository of a community's collective memory, traditions, and values. Indigenous languages encapsulate the essence of their speakers' cultural identity, carrying the wisdom of generations. When someone speaking a native language falls silent, an integral part of a community's heritage is lost. Preserving and revitalizing endangered languages safeguards the knowledge embedded within them, allowing future generations to connect with their roots.

Enhancing Cognitive Abilities

Each language offers a unique lens through which the world is perceived. The structures, sounds, and expressions of a particular language shape how speakers conceptualize reality. Bilingualism, or multilingualism, especially in the context of adult speakers of endangered languages, has been linked to enhanced cognitive abilities, including improved problem-solving skills, creative thinking, and mental flexibility. These linguistic skills contribute to a broader cognitive toolkit that benefits individuals, organizations, and societies alike.

Fostering Inter-generational Bonds

Intergenerational language transmission is a powerful conduit for familial and communal connections. When a native language is shared between generations, a bridge is built that spans time and experience. Elders pass down stories, traditions, and values, creating a sense of continuity and unity. Reviving endangered regional languages reinforces these bonds, enriching family dynamics and reinforcing the importance of heritage.

Enriching Global Perspectives

The world's linguistic diversity mirrors the diverse array of human experiences. Each endangered language offers a distinct window into cultural nuances and ways of life. By protecting and promoting indigenous languages, we contribute to a richer understanding of the world's many facets. These languages can reveal alternative approaches to problem-solving, social organization, and even environmental sustainability, offering a wealth of perspectives that can benefit humanity as a whole.

Safeguarding Traditional Knowledge

Language revitalization efforts often involve not only the language itself but also the revival of traditional knowledge and practices that may be closely tied to the language. For example, Ethnobotanical knowledge, traditional healing practices, ecological wisdom, and artistic expressions are often transmitted through endangered languages. Preserving these languages is a vital step in safeguarding centuries-old wisdom that can offer insights into sustainable living and holistic well-being. This traditional knowledge could be preserved if more individuals communicate in their mother tongue through education in these minority languages.

The urgency of preserving linguistic diversity extends beyond individual languages; it speaks to the broader need to protect the myriad ways humans have adapted to and thrived within their environments. By nurturing and revitalizing endangered languages, we honor the profound connection between language, culture, and the environment, fostering a harmonious coexistence that celebrates both the past and the future.

Documenting and Revitalizing Minority Languages

In the delicate tapestry of human languages, endangered languages represent threads that are fraying and at risk of being lost forever. Among these linguistic treasures are minority languages, spoken by smaller communities often nestled within larger cultural contexts. The preservation and revitalization of these languages are critical for the communities they belong to and the broader landscape of linguistic diversity.

Documenting Linguistic Heritage

Before embarking on the journey of language revitalization, it is essential to document the endangered or indigenous languages in their current state. Linguists, anthropologists, and community members collaborate to make language documentation and compile dictionaries, grammatical analyses, and collections of traditional stories. This documentation not only safeguards the linguistic components of the language but also captures the nuances of cultural expressions intricately tied to the language. These records serve as invaluable resources for future generations seeking to reconnect with their native language and heritage.

Language Maintenance Programs

Language maintenance is a proactive approach to ensure endangered languages remain viable in daily communication. These programs focus attention on creating environments where the language is used organically in various settings, from homes to schools to community events. By integrating the language into everyday life, language revitalization becomes more sustainable and effective. Language maintenance empowers speakers to confidently pass on their mother tongue, nurturing a sense of cultural identity and pride.

Revitalizing Indigenous Languages

Language revitalization involves strategic efforts to breathe new life into endangered languages. Community involvement is at the heart of these initiatives, as speakers collaborate with linguists, educators, and cultural experts to develop language programs, teaching materials, and multimedia resources. Creating engaging and relevant learning experiences can reintroduce these indigenous peoples' languages to younger generations, fostering a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for their linguistic heritage.

Language Preservation in the Digital Age

The digital era offers innovative opportunities for language preservation and revitalization. Online platforms, mobile apps, and social media provide accessible platforms for sharing language resources, lessons, and stories. Digital archives ensure that even if physical language communities diminish, their linguistic legacy can continue to thrive in the digital realm. These technological tools bridge geographical gaps, allowing individuals interested in learning endangered languages to connect with speakers and resources from around the world.

Embracing Translation as a Lifeline

In the intricate task of preserving endangered languages, translation emerges as a powerful lifeline. By translating texts, stories, and cultural expressions from endangered languages into more widely spoken languages, we open doors for wider understanding and appreciation. For posterity of a language and texts, cultural expression, and many other things, translation should be embraced. When anything written in one language has to be understood in another, translation services are used. Translation serves as a bridge that connects different linguistic communities, helping to spread the beauty and significance of these endangered languages. Through translation, the essence of endangered languages can be preserved and shared, contributing to their revitalization

As the world evolves, the urgency to revitalize endangered languages becomes more pronounced. Each language lost diminishes the richness of human expression and erodes the collective wisdom encoded within it. The efforts to preserve and rejuvenate minority languages contribute to a world that celebrates both unity and diversity. By recognizing the profound importance of linguistic heritage and investing in its preservation, we create a legacy that future generations can proudly carry forward. Through these endeavors, we not only honor the past but also nurture the flourishing of endangered languages in the tapestry of our global linguistic mosaic.

Bureau Works' Commitment to Linguistic Diversity

At Bureau Works, we are not merely a translation platform; we are staunch advocates for linguistic diversity and the preservation of minority languages. Our mission goes beyond mere communication; we strive to bridge cultures, empower communities to speak different languages together, and contribute to the global effort to revitalize endangered languages.

In a world where many voices risk being silenced, we proudly embrace our role in preserving the tapestry of linguistic heritage. Our commitment is exemplified by our inclusion of millions of speakers of endangered and vulnerable languages such as Sorbian, Yiddish, Basque, and Welsh in our translation services. By providing a platform for these languages to thrive, we enable speakers to share their stories, traditions, and knowledge with a wider audience.

Every translation undertaken by Bureau Works is a step towards safeguarding linguistic diversity. We recognize that a mother language is more than just words; it is one language that embodies the soul of a community and one tongue that encapsulates its history and values. Through our services, we empower communities to communicate, connect, and thrive while staying rooted in their cultural identity.

Our dedication to linguistic preservation extends beyond translation. We collaborate closely with linguists, anthropologists, and community members to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of our translations. By capturing the essence of these endangered languages, we contribute to the ongoing efforts to document and celebrate the unique language vitality of each linguistic tradition.

As we navigate the digital age, Bureau Works leverages technology to amplify the impact of our linguistic preservation initiatives. Our digital platforms, apps, and tools provide accessible avenues for learning, information sharing, and preserving other indigenous languages. We are committed to ensuring that linguistic diversity is not a relic of the past but a vibrant force that shapes our present and future.


As we've explored the multifaceted factors contributing to language endangerment and the profound significance of linguistic diversity, we're reminded that each endangered language holds a universe of cultural wisdom, linguistic features, historical insights, and unique perspectives within it. The preservation and revitalization of these linguistic treasures stand as a testament to our commitment to honoring the past while embracing the future. The endeavors of organizations dedicated to documenting, maintaining, and revitalizing endangered languages are not isolated actions; they are collective strides towards a world where unity is celebrated through the celebration of diversity.

At Bureau Works, we're humbled to stand as advocates for linguistic diversity. Our dedication to including endangered languages in our services is more than a business endeavor; it's a pledge to uphold the rich tapestry of human expression. As we move forward, let us remember that by cherishing and safeguarding endangered languages, we are weaving a vibrant legacy for generations to come—a legacy that harmonizes the voices of the past with future aspirations.

Collaborative translation is a powerful tool for your business if you’re looking to expand to new global markets. By coordinating a team of professionals who work together in real-time, you can quickly deliver high quality translations that resonate with local audiences.

But what if you don't know how to synchronize a large team's efforts? Or are you‌ struggling to find the right software for a well-coordinated translation process? Well, look no further! In this guide, you'll learn all the know-how's of collaborative translation to bring your brand to global audiences.


  1. What is collaborative translation?
  2. Why seamless translation collaboration is important
  3. Best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

What is collaborative translation?

Collaborative translation is when multiple people simultaneously work together to translate content. A collaborative translation process often makes use of specialized tools and software to make sure the translation is quick, accurate, and consistent.

  • Example: Let's say you're a B2B SaaS company looking to translate your marketing materials into a new language to connect with potential clients abroad. Use collaborative translation to bring together translators, developers, and other specialists to translate content into many languages at once.

Your team can use a collaborative translation platform like Redokun to work on projects simultaneously. A coordinated workflow will make sure that your translations use the same terminology and style, improving the quality of the translated product for your target audiences.

Collaborative Translation vs. Crowdsourcing

People often confuse collaborative translation with crowdsourcing and think the two are the same. However, these approaches to translation are different.

Crowdsourcing is when a large group of people contributes translations, often through an open call or invitation by a company or author. Brands can turn to crowdsourcing, community translation, or volunteer translation when they are looking to reduce costs and accelerate the process, especially for large multi-language projects.

In crowdsourced translations, the contributors can be volunteer translators, subject matter experts, or just anonymous individuals online. In other words, you may not know who's worked on the translation and what their qualifications are. It makes crowdsourcing distinct from collaborative translation, where the team would be an established group of professionals you've selected

Why seamless translation collaboration is important

As a busy B2B/B2C marketing manager or project manager, you might ask yourself: Isn't the "divide and conquer" a better strategy when working on a translation or localization project? It seems logical that each project team member, including translators, designers, and editors, works on their tasks separately and step by step.

However, collaborative translation can help your team reap many benefits compared to a traditional approach to translation projects:

Reasons why seamless translation collaboration is important
  • Produce high-quality translations consistently. When your whole team works on a translation project simultaneously on one platform, it's easier to stay in context and keep track of the translation accuracy for every target language. On top of that, your team can conduct agile QA throughout the project cycle.
  • Faster turnaround times. By working together, your team can complete projects faster and more efficiently. Centralization saves a lot of time at every stage of translation. And since your team can work on more than one translation at a time, you can publish your translated content in several new markets at once.
  • Reduced costs. You get to improve efficiency while working with a smaller team of translators. The smaller and more coordinated the team, the less the risk of costly translation errors. It means reduced translation costs and better project budget compliance.
  • Increased flexibility. Collaborative translation allows your team to produce translations into many languages at once and easily make changes to any project document. You can conveniently engage in a feedback loop and guarantee a continuous localization process.
  • Better communication. Collaborative translation effectively brings all members of your localization team together on one platform. It helps you make sure that everyone is working toward the same goals ‌and simplifies overall localization management.

Six best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

To be great at collaborative translation, you need to approach it strategically. Even if you've never used this approach before, you can follow the six steps below to build an efficient collaborative translation workflow. And if you're already familiar with this method, these practices will help you improve the way you collaborate on any translation projects.

Six best practices for collaborative translation for your global business success

1. Work out a detailed project plan

Before you start working on translations together, you need a clear-cut project plan. You should first identify the following items.

  • Project timeline: Define crucial deadlines, project milestones, and the overall project duration.
  • Translation volume and key deliverables: Calculate the general word count, and determine the workload for every language pair if you translate into multiple languages.
  • Project budget: Keep in mind possible added and hidden translation costs.
  • Project team: Define what kind of specialists you need: translators, editors, proofreaders, etc. Will you need to find external translators? Consider all your HR needs in advance.
  • Your approach to the translation process: How much do you want to rely on machine translation? At what point will you edit translated strings? Answer all these questions before you go on.
  • Quality assurance protocol: Establish an efficient QA procedure for all the language pairs you're working on.

It may sound like a handful but the more detailed the plan, the more streamlined the translations will be down the road. Besides, you can already use Redokun to boost this stage of the localization process!

Redokun is a translation management system you can use to automate, coordinate, and optimize your translation processes from content creation to publication.

Redokun simplifies your project planning. In particular, you can use the tool to:

  • Monitor your ongoing translations easily. Keep track of all of your translation files and projects across multiple languages in one space, and check their progress at a glance.
Redokun Document Detail Page
  • Meet deadlines with digest emails. Redokun will send you daily or weekly email digests to update you on the progress of translations. From there, you can initiate one-click reminders to your translators who are potentially falling behind schedule.
  • Making budget planning easier. Redokun has a transparent, scalable pricing structure that will cover exactly the volume of work your project needs.
Redokun is an easy-to-use tool that requires no onboarding. Your team can start using all the system’s features right away. During your project planning stage, you won’t need to factor in a lengthy training period to introduce team members to the tool.

2. Divide tasks and assign responsibilities the smart way

Good collaboration is impossible without a well-planned distribution and organization of roles and tasks. Ensure that every team member is on the same page and understands their respective responsibilities.

For example, the project managers should divide ‌translation tasks among translation team members according to their language proficiency, area of expertise, or subject matter knowledge.
  • On Redokun, you can invite translators to work on different language pairs and content types depending on their skills. All you need to do is enter the translator's email. The software will send them an email invitation and let you know once they've started translating the file.
  • You can also invite several translators to work on one document.
How to invite translators to Redokun

To maximize the efficiency of project management and task division, establish a clear structure of your workflow. Make sure all your pages, files, and folders are well organized and team members know where to find necessary resources for their respective tasks. A centralized, cloud-based storage for all your documents is a must.

  • Redokun is a cloud-based software that makes file management easy. You can create folders and customize permission settings for multiple users for better organization. No more need to look for spreadsheets and lost documents scattered around different digital locations.
  • Don't forget to make the most of the Reporting Dashboard. It shows you the status of the translation project and helps you see how users distribute tasks (for example, what methods they use to translate different content segments).
Redokun Dashboard with translation statistics

3. Enhance the collaborative translation process with clear communication

It's important to have open communication channels among all team members in your translation project, including internal and external translators. For a successful collaboration effort, you need a shared communication space to:

  • Conduct regular check-ins.
  • Discuss translation options and other aspects of the working process.
  • Update and adjust requirements and guidelines.
  • Maintain feedback loops.
It's up to you to choose between email, messengers, or tools like Google Drive or Slack to keep your collboarative operations flowing. However, using multiple channels for different aspects of the project can get messy. It's harder to manage your team and make sure all collaborators are up to date on the ongoing translation tasks.

You can avoid these potential problems by centralizing all your communications and project management. With translation software like Redokun, you can manage, translate, communicate, and collaborate — all in one place.

  • Translate content in context. Your translators or editors can use page previews in Web Editor to understand the context of the text while working on it.
  • Work together in real-time. Use Redokun as a full-scale collaborative translation platform. It enables real-time cooperation among your team members, improving efficiency and reducing communication errors.
  • Use comments, mentions, and notifications to exchange feedback quickly. Redokun's Web Editor is a convenient place to stay in touch and discuss your translation progress every step of the way.
Collaboration feature in Redokun
  • Create a hybrid workflow. Work with your in-house teams or external translators to suit different localization project formats and scalability needs.

4. Use machine translation and translation memory tools

Computer-assisted translation tools are a great addition to human translation. Machine translation (MT) helps your collaborators speed up the localization process by automating translation. Of course, it doesn't have the quality of a human professional translation — it’s more like a helping hand that's always there to facilitate the translation of complex phrases or new terms.

  • Redokun is integrated with two Machine Translation tools: Google Translate and DeepL. Translation suggestions by these two tools pop up right below where the translator should key in the translation, as shown here.

To enhance collaboration even further, consider using translation memory tools. They ensure consistency and save translation software users a lot of time.

Translation memory (TM) is a translation technology that stores previously translated sentences or phrases as segments and creates a unique database for your localization projects. You can reuse your translation to increase efficiency and consistency in ongoing and future translations.

With Redokun as your collaborative translation platform, you can leverage TM to:

  • Consistently translate any repeated word, phrase, or sentence across different language pairs and documents. It's especially important for translating technical terms, marketing slogans, CTAs, and other catchphrases. Translation memory helps you stay consistent in your marketing messaging.
  • Pre-translate your entire documents. Combine TM matches from your previous translations with Machine Translation to get a fully pre-translated document even before your team gets to work.
  • Manage your translation memory database. Import and customize your TM database to further improve translation quality and consistency.
”The speed of translation is quite impressive in that it doesn’t take [much time], maybe a couple of minutes when you translate from English to eight markets. I think that’s what I’m most impressed by.”

Read more about how Kenni and the marketing team at Rockfon increased their translation productivity by 70% using translation memories and other Redokun features

5. Use glossaries and style guides

Glossaries and style guides are valuable resources your team can use for reliable reference.

A glossary is a list of terms and their corresponding translations that are specific to a company or industry.

A style guide outlines the preferred tone, voice, and style for a company's marketing materials across markets and languages.

Your collaborators can refer to these resources when they’re not sure about a translation. For example is when they're deciding how to translate a company abbreviation, whether to the Oxford comma, or choosing the right tone to address customers, etc. No more ambiguity about linguistic, stylistic, and cultural aspects of your translations.

  • Use Redokun's glossary feature to create a glossary and style guide that outlines rules for spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, and tone specific to your project.
Redokun glossary feature preview

6. Continuously review and revise

A key benefit of a collaborative translation platform is the ability to review and revise translations in an agile and efficient manner. By involving multiple specialists in the process of editing and QA, you can guarantee accuracy and consistency in the translated content at every stage of the project.

To implement effective review and revision procedures in your collaborative translation projects, it is important to:

  • Plan for review and revision in advance. Identify who will be responsible, set the timeline, and use specific tools.
  • Consider involving in-country reviewers who are familiar with the local market and culture to ensure that the translations are accurate and appropriate for the target audience.
  • Perform regular QA checks. They should include consistency in terminology and formatting, and verify that the translations are free from grammatical errors and typos.
Pro-tip: Ever experienced the headache of having to update a translation that’s already 70% done when there is a last-minute change to the source document?

With Redokun’s revision feature, you don’t have to spend hours poring over Excel sheets and comparing files to spot the places where new words have been added or sentences have been changed. Just upload the latest document version and the system will identify new text that needs translating — saving your team’s time and effort while keeping previous translations intact.


Collaborative translation is an excellent approach if you want to improve the consistency of your translations, reduce costs, and establish a strong presence in global markets.

The key to seamless collaboration is a combination of careful planning, role distribution, agile QA, and smart use of translation software.

Make Redokun part of your collaborative translation efforts and enhance the pace of your global business growth‌. Start your 14-day free trial today and benefit from a quicker and more streamlined translation workflow.

Till next time,


Lucky Eze
Lucky Ezeihuaku is an SEO expert and specialist Translation content writer with Bureau Works. He has a master’s degree in English and Literature, and has been writing professionally for at least 7 years. He has gone on to specialize in the Translation and Localization niche, churning out multiple quality, informative, and optimized articles for Bureau Works over the past year. He claims writing and developing SEO strategies keeps him going, and he’s also interested in Data Analytics.
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