Canada’s Northwest Territories opens up grant applications for Indigenous translators and interpreters

Over the course of the next eight months, the government of Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) will be accepting applications for grants toward the education and career development of Canadian translators and interpreters working in Indigenous languages.

The NWT has an especially large proportion of Indigenous people, making Indigenous language access — and revitalization — a particularly critical consideration throughout the territory. It’s one of two Canadian jurisdictions in which Indigenous people make up a majority of the population, alongside Nunavut. Individual translators and interpreters working in languages like Inuktitut or Inuvialuktun can submit up to two applications for up to $2,000 in total (each application can yield a maximum grant of $1,000).

“This funding supports the professional development and training of Indigenous languages interpreters and translators in the NWT by helping to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and materials related to professional development, terminology and computer training,” the government of the NWT’s official website, where the application for the grants is hosted.

Speakers of languages Indigenous to the NWT who are interested in the grants will have until March 2023 to apply. 

The NWT has made an effort toward language revitalization in recent years, with these grants serving as one of the latest examples. Additionally, there have been recent talks of amending the NWT’s Official Languages Act (OLA) in order to strengthen the status of Indigenous languages throughout the region. Canada’s federal government has also committed to supporting the NWT’s Indigenous languages, offering nearly $18 million from 2021 to 2024 to support the revitalization of the jurisdiction’s Indigenous languages.

The territory recognizes 11 official languages — in addition to English and French, which have official status throughout the entire nation, the NWT has given official status to nine Indigenous languages. Roughly 80% of the NWT’s population identifies English as their mother tongue, with Indigenous languages, French and Tagalog making up the remaining 20% of the population. In the recent proposals to amend the OLA, the government has suggested that it ought to better acknowledge the effects of colonialism on the local linguistic landscape of the NWT.

Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.


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