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.

If you like creating music, do you like social media?

Today on Twitter there was a lovely conversation about improvisation. Alas, my twitter timeline doesn’t go back far enough to capture it, but it was something that I think Jeremiah Owyang wrote about the importance of improvisation and achitwood and I chimed in about improvisation being a key skill these days. We noted that often it is seen as something risky and all about disruption, but it is in fact an amazing practice to bolster collaboration and innovation.

achitwood achitwood Improv – you gotta know your instrument (whether music, theatre, collab) to make music with others!

Jeremiah jowyang Nate wrote a great blog post on Jazz Improve because of this thread:

As the conversation progressed, Jeremiah brought in the thread of jazz as one branch of improvisation and people started chiming in that they played an instrument or were in a band. That triggered some collective wondering if people who are interested in improvisation might be better suited to or interested in social media. That’s when Jeremiah came up with the idea of a wikis. So I set up a wiki! social media musicians. Come join in the play! In the meantime, here are a few snippets from the Twitter conversation.

Jeremiah jowyang Since there are SO many musicians here, I propose over the next 30 days we record ourselves playing and put it on a public wiki….. jowyang The wiki wouldn’t HOUSE the videos, but just point to them wherever they live (blip, youtube, metacafe, facebook, whatever)

Veronique veroniquec wishing I had a musical bone in my body to contribute to @jowyang ‘s music wiki — sounds like fun!

Karoli Karoli @jowyang: that was a great post. My kid is a jazz studies major in college…improv is as much a gift as a learned skill. I’m in awe

Jim Benson ourfounder @jowyang – A public Music Wiki sounds fun actually. I wouldn’t mind contributing.

Jeremiah jowyang @all jazz social media folks, see this video of Bobby McFerrin involving crowd

Open Source Research on FB for Non Profits

candle or mirror

I have been talking to the folks at Hosteling International USA about how to reach out to and connect with 18-25 year olds about hosteling and traveling. I told Russ Hedges, the CEO, that I did not know a lot about Facebook (one option) but I sure had a great network of people who did know a lot, and many who have focused on the use of Facebook by non profits and NGOs.

I proposed we convene a telephone conversation and toss around some ideas. Besides having this conversation, I suggested that whatever we learned, we would share out – Open Source Research. Russ was game, so I put the invite out on Twitter and within an hour had 8 RSVPs. Social networks in action, right from the start.

Today we shared conversation for an hour. Towards the end, Jim Benson suggested we walk the talk and continue our research on Facebook IN Facebook. We’d start a little group, scan FB for interesting non profit applications, leave links in the group, then reconvene to talk again in a couple of weeks. I agreed to start the group and post the minutes from today’s meeting, to begin that “sharing out” bit. So here it is… Facebook | Open Source Research on FB for Non Profits with Nancy’s Friends

Care to join our exploration? It complements some work Beth Kanter has been doing as well. Imagine, if we all share our research, we’ll either be collectively smarter, or even more confused!

Community indicators – 37 days

just wave

Originally uploaded by alaskawhitefox

I’ve written about 37 Days before. Patricia’s blog is about beauty and the culture of love. Yesterday she shared the fruits of her community – people who are creating images (cards) for her upcoming book of essays. The Flickr group offers you a peek at the generosity of Patty’s readers.

This is another visible community indicator, evidence that we have significant and generous connections with each other online.

I had to link to this image, “Just Wave” because one of my signatures is “Waving… Nancy.”

Speaking of waving, I’m waving from Seattle, where the most enormous snowflakes are floating down outside my office window. Beautiful.

The MOVE is underway

We are redirecting the site to it’s new home. The blog is moving to the front page! Things may be weird for a couple of days, but we are almost there. Many of my old website pages will still look old and links may be messed up for a while. But inch by inch I’ll get it all straightened out.

In the meantime… A HUGE thanks to Jon Lebkowsky at Polycot Associates who has been leading this transition for me.