MSVU Social Media Course Blog

Just another weblog

Power to the people. I mean ALL people!

On the current edition of the Spark radio show/podcast/blog there are many interesting topics to explore. I’m really enjoying this exercise and finding myself constantly surprised by how many relevant issues are discussed on Spark.

This week Nora Young interviewed Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices Online. Zuckerman mentioned that in 2006, Technorati reported that there were more blogs written in Japanese than in English. Zuckerman says that today English is actually a minority language on the net. There is a great need for translation so that more information can be shared. Global Voices serves as a social translation site, where people from all over the world can offer up translation services to make blog content available in multiple languages.

Social translation seems to be similar to the wiki concept—people who are bilingual or multilingual and who are willing to translate content in their free time are able to register on the site and begin translating. As Zuckerman points out, many times Google Translation and other websites don’t provide the best translation services. “Translation is about taking text and making it comprehensible”, not just word for word. Global Voices uses volunteer authors and part-time editors to create the site that emphasizes “voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.”

On a larger scale, Global Voices aims to:

  • Call attention to the most interesting conversations and perspectives emerging from citizens’ media around the world by linking to text, photos, podcasts, video and other forms of grassroots citizens’ media.
  • Facilitate the emergence of new citizens’ voices through training, online tutorials, and publicizing the ways in which open-source and free tools can be used safely by people around the world to express themselves.
  • Advocate for freedom of expression around the world and protect the rights of citizen journalists to report on events and opinions without fear of censorship or persecution.

    Finally, another thought-provoking quote from the website:

    “At a time when international English-language media ignores many things that are important to large numbers of the world’s citizens, Global Voices aims to redress some of the inequities in media attention by leveraging the power of citizens’ media.”

    Personally, I think this is a global step in the right direction! What do you think?

    P.S. If this whole social translation thing really grabbed your attention, I dare you to check out another really interesting site: TED -“Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”.


June 7, 2009 - Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , ,

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