northernvoice wiki / Multilingual blogs

northernvoice wiki / Multilingual blogs

I have some notes up – not edited yet, but if you are interested in multilingual blogging and websites, check it out. It would be great if you added examples, links. We have a tag going multilingual_bloggers on

Live blogging caveat applies to live wiki-ing as well. I WILL make typos, miss things and make mistakes. And I won’t write down what I said.

Using Google Translation Tool in Wikispaces

In a couple of weeks I’ll be facilitating a multilingual event. We are using DGroups (hopefully – they are moving servers and it just got delayed a week into our week long event and I need a plan B) paired with a wiki. We want to keep it simple, we want to try and include multilingual participation and we don’t have any dedicated translation resources. So we need a community based solution.

The plan is we all start together (English, Spanish, French) in one email discussion thread to introduce ourselves. We are asking people to post their introduction in their home language on wikispaces page and then, we thought we’d translate them all. But darn, that is a huge task. So I poked around Google’s Widgets and thought I’d try their translation widget in my Wikispaces onlinefacilitation wiki. Wow, it worked pretty darn well!

After the first day of introductions, we’ll split into English, Spanish and French language groups for our topical discussions on Days 2-4. We will have each group do a quick summary each day on the wiki, which again, we can start translating with the Google widget, then improve upon it. (Sometimes the machine translations are pretty funny.) On the last two days, we’ll again work across languages in one list to close out, make meaning (in EVERY sense of the word) and have that experience of togetherness, even with our language gaps.

It will be an interesting experiment. I’m very excited about it. I’ll make sure to return here and report what we learn, plus the wiki will be available for others to review after the event.

Bridging Across Language Online

More and more I find myself working across languages. Most recently between Spanish and English. Yet I am not a fluent Spanish speaker. I can manage day to day transactions. My Portuguese is better. But at my age remembering vocabulary is my biggest struggle, especially when reading. I seem to be able to get more in a listening context and the speaker can see my puzzlement easier when I’m lost.

Because of this, and knowing how important it is to try and bridge across languages, I have been following the emergence of new sites to aid in translation on websites. Tonight two came to my attention via Britt Bravo at NetSquared.

The first is lingro: multilingual dictionary and language learning site. You put in a URL, designate what dictionary you want to use. Then lingro loads the site in a frame. You click on any word and lingro offers a dictionary definition. WOW! Very cool. I’m looking forward to using it.

The second is WordWideLexicon, a site that enables collaborative, community driven, person based voluntary translation of websites.

The Worldwide Lexicon translation system enables people around the world to view, create and edit translations.

All of the translations are created by people, not computers. We have users in over 130 countries representing over 60 languages.

You can read translations here at, subscribe to RSS feeds for your favorite sites, and soon, create and join translation communities about your favorite topics and websites.

The latter is not only a language bridge, but a community indicator. Translation and interpretation is a lot of work. It is an amazing contribution to a community. Next week I’ll be at a global gathering, GK3. It will be interesting to see how the community takes care of its language needs.