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.