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Noto Fonts: Preserving Endangered Languages

The Noto project is the most ambitious font project of all time, aiming to continually support 100 percent of all Unicode characters each year with fully functional fonts. Today, Noto offers fonts for 146 scripts and over 800 languages, and is opening the door to reading and writing for minority language speakers. During the last decade, billions of people have found new options to communicate digitally in their preferred language or writing system, due in part to newly available fonts. According to UNESCO, “at least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.” There are over 2.5 billion Android users globally, and as the default on Android, each Noto font enables a community’s culture to survive and thrive on the internet. For example, the Cherokee Nation in North America, with an estimated 20,000 speakers, uses Noto for texting, email, and teaching their language to the next generation. Noto is used every day for Tibetan, Canadian indigenous languages, millions of African users, and hundreds of languages across Asia. According to UNESCO’s Atlas of Languages in Danger, 1113 of the 2572 languages reported are several and critically endangered and spoken primarily by community elders. Given age-related vision impairments, some of these speakers may have trouble reading small text sizes. When books, poetry, songs, and all kinds of texts are available in digital form; the ability to read minority languages fluently through the simple act of text magnification on-screen is important. In this session you will learn more about the most recently developed Noto variable fonts, their impact for endangered language communities and accessibility, and how you can contribute to the project to make reading truly universal.

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Speaker

Dave Crossland

Lead Program Manager Google

Dave Crossland attended the first Libre Graphics Meeting in 2006, and became fascinated with the potential of libre licensing to improve design. Since then, he has worked to liberate typography, mainly as a program manager for Google Fonts. He also regularly contributes to the Crafting Type, Font Bakery, and Runebender projects.

Speaker

Marek Z. Jeziorek

Marek Z. Jeziorek is a native of Poland but has been on vacation since 1976 in the USA. He is still enjoying his vacation time in California :-) His educational background includes a degree in Mathematics and Informatics (aka Comp. Sci.) from Warsaw University, Poland, and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. At this time, Jeziorek works as a Technical Program Manager at Google LLC. He got involved with Noto fonts by accident. Around 2015, Google management needed somebody to manage Noto’s font pipeline building project. They asked Jeziorek. He became a project manager for the font building software. His role expanded over time, and now he manages the whole spectrum of Noto fonts and tools.

Speaker

Susanna Zaraysky