Add Indigenous Languages to Acrobat
From an inclusion lens, there's a significant population of Indigenous peoples whose language is not represented in any Adobe products. More Indigenous languages should be added to Acrobats language capabilities to inform screen readers of how to properly output Indigenous words.
There are two problems with how Adobe is approaching its lack of inclusion of Indigenous languages.
- There should be more Indigenous languages added.
- The mono-language setting for a document is limiting and doesn't allow for the diversity of multiple languages to help communicate the message appropriately.
There are over 70 Indigenous languages in Canada. Adobe is a leader in the community for reviewing PDFs however right now screen readers are not supported by Adobe's language capabilities by including Indigenous languages. Screen readers are limited to only speaking in either English or French in a document rather than interpreting the information properly and outputting Indigenous pronunciations. From an accessibility perspective, it's mandatory to set the language of a PDF document so that screen readers can interpret the information properly however if your document is in a language that's not available in Adobe's language settings then it's impossible to truly make that document accessible.
Mono-language is a limitation imposed by Adobe's software where we can only set one language for the entire document. This is limiting because often when working with information for Indigenous people there's a need to have both their Indigenous language represented and also a translation of that as well into most often English or French. Screen readers are not able to detect a language, then switch partway through the document, and Adobe's language settings are not robust enough to account for Indigenous languages since it's not equipped with them. The result is that the section with the Indigenous language gets read in the set language of the document which can lead to confusion on the user end since there's incorrect pronunciation and no indication that there's been a language change.
There's definitely an option to do better and provide more flexibility here by offering more Indigenous languages available as well as creating a feature to add multilingual language settings within a document.
I just wanted to add one clarifying remark. There is a way to differentiate using <span> tools to be able to define a different language however right now there is a limitation on what languages are available and also the process is cumbersome and could be more user-friendly.
At the heart of the issue is that Indigenous languages have to be included as part of the Adobe pack of languages so that we can make inclusive accessible documents for Indigenous people.