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More languages

There are around 6,000 languages spoken in the world today and a surprising number of them are spoken by tens of millions of people each. For example, there are at least 80 languages spoken by ten million people or more. That means at least 80 major languages that we in the trade union movement should be concerned with.

Nevertheless, when one visits the websites of the international trade union movement, one finds that at best four or five languages are represented and these are almost invariably the languages of Western European countries. And this is not intended as a criticism of the unions: at least they are trying. In an ocean of monolingual, mostly English language websites, the union sites are a testament to the labour movement's continued commitment to multilingualism and multiculturalism. I'm sure that given greater resources, all the international union sites would appear in even more languages.

Since our launch in March 1998, LabourStart has been appearing in only one language -- English. But in early 2001, we began adding new languages, starting with Dutch and Norwegian.

How do we pick which languages to add? Why isn't a particular language on our list?

The answer is simple: we don't pick the languages. You do. Volunteers have stepped forward to act as editors of our new language editions.

Our highest priority is to produce high quality editions of our site which will be frequently updated and which will serve the interests of the trade unions in those countries where those languages are spoken.

We do not distinguish between major and minor languages; any language which is spoken by any community of working people is a legitimate one for LabourStart to appear in.

We very much want to break the mold of the usual international websites with their English/French/Spanish versions (and nothing else) in particular by adding on languages spoken in the world's South, including languages with non-Latin characters.

If you want to help us launch other language editions, or assist in the editions currently running, write to Thanks!

This document was last modified: Wednesday, 23-Nov-2022 08:32:59 CET

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