In celebration of International Mother Language Day on February 21, 2021, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) has written to the digital and tech teams at some of the biggest global brands, requesting if there is a timescale to include the Macedonian language on the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Twitter, and LinkedIn business pages.
Estimates place the total number of worldwide Macedonian speakers as close to 4 million, highlighting that there is a prominent market for major streaming and tech brands. Yet, many in Macedonia find the easiest way to watch shows is with English, Croatian or Serbian subtitles. Although some shows include dubbing, there is clear room for expansion to include Macedonian.
Abroad, many Macedonians are concerned that their descendants risk losing their language connection if it cannot be reinforced through daily activities like accompanying popular shows. Considering the high demand and market for it, it is therefore essential that current and future speakers of the Macedonian language are equally offered services in their language, as are others.
Mishko Josifov, UMD Board Member, said:
“We’re contacting a variety of organizations and services, including LinkedIn and Netflix, to clarify if they have any plans to include a Macedonian translation or subtitle service as part of their product.
“There are two key strands here: business and entertainment. We might not expect Netflix or Amazon to offer a subtitle service overnight for all our favorite shows, but there should be a timetable for adoption.
“LinkedIn, on the other hand, as well as other tech platforms, are used by hundreds of thousands of Macedonians worldwide. The adoption is inconsistent. It should be a priority for our leaders to make sure all Macedonians can access commercial digital opportunities.
“If we’re serious about making Macedonian a commercial and entertainment economic hub, it’s a process that needs to work both ways. People need to understand each other to protect Macedonian, expand its uses, and allow new learners to it.”
The map showcases the different Macedonian language dialects of geographic Macedonia, today located in Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece. Disclaimer: Use of the map does not imply irredentist claims.