Unilingual Inuktitut speakers should be accommodated in their language when using automated banking machines in Nunavut communities, Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak recommended in the legislative assembly on Monday.

“More than several people have voiced concerns about the fact that Inuktitut is treated as a secondary language here in Nunavut,” says Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak, who wants ATMs to provide service in Inuktitut in the territory.
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Keyootak said numerous constituents in Clyde River and Qikiqtarjuaq have expressed concern about ATMs providing service in English only.

“Some people use their children or grandchildren’s help when they get cash out of those machines, those unable to read in English, and this is a real concern by some people,” he said. “This is particularly because an Elder may get their money stolen when they are being assisted by another person in English, as it can also lead to fraud.”

Keyootak asked Languages Minister David Joanasie to work with the companies that supply ATMs to ensure Inuktitut is written alongside English when installed on Inuit lands.

Joanasie noted that the GN funds up to $5,000 per business each year to translate documents from English into Inuktitut. When businesses aren’t following legal language requirements, Nunavummiut can lodge complaints with the Office of the Languages Commissioner, he said.

He added that the GN is considering reminding businesses of their languages obligations when they renew their business licences and may enlist aid from chambers of commerce to advise members of the annual funding available to help cover translation costs.


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  1. Just curious. How do you manage the correct dialect on every machine. Also, how does this really help if someone goes to another region. The numbers are universal, so if an elder is taking out $200 they know this. While, I understand the importance, I’m not seeing the practicality. So if I’m from Pang but I’m in Cambridge, I’m not going to be able to read it. So are people going to be able to choose their own dialect from a drop down menu? Until Nunavut decides on a universal dialect, this will never happen.

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