Social Media Tackles Language Barriers


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Another report about the recent ifocus conference in Miami.
The speed of communication these days is truly staggering. Some have begun to refer to the newspaper USAToday as USAYesterday and see news aggregator sites as describing what just happened. What shows up in blogs often foretells what will be news tomorrow.
RSS feeds can help a person in the struggle to keep up but what about people who converse in one of the world’s minor languages. Their two-way communication has to make it through a language barrier and that takes time and often loses its timely relevance.
Enter a site call The easiest way to capture the potential of this site is to experience it. I suggest you go to the site and scroll down the list of featured films until you come to the one call RSS in Plain English. Start the video playing then use the pull-down menu to change the language of the sub-titles. Do it repeatedly during the video. They change instantaneously. Also, notice the range of language choices – Togalog, Ga, Latvian. is a free platform. Once someone registers, they can become a translator and add another language to posted videos. Or, you can post your video and wait from someone else to do the translation. This is a new and international form of the wisdom of the crowd. It will let you get your message to people around the world that were previously excluded. Or, it will give people who normally converse in a less popular language to communicate with the rest of the world. is a set of tools. They let the non-commercial world use their tools free because of the potential to do good. They make their money from commercial enterprises that need an effective way to reach their customers and employees in the most effective language. Even when they use professional translators, the cost-efficiency is orders of magnitude less.
As you look at the site, keep in mind that you are looking at a beta version of the tools. Think of what we will be able to do with subsequent versions.

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


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