Want to connect with social media users from around the world? A social networking site which uses translation technology has been released to meet your needs.
Godudu claims to be “the world’s first social network that speaks your language.” It’s a big statement, considering that sites like Facebook and Twitter offer options to operate in several languages. However, what sets Godudu apart is the translation technology it uses to allow users to talk to one another, real time, in different languages. On the Godudu website they explain that Godudu is a “social network with a unique translation technology allowing Internet users that speak different languages to communicate freely.” So, if you set your language preference to English, posts will appear in English regardless of what language they were originally written in. For the international social networking user, that’s pretty darned useful.
Godudu launched in April 2011 and currently has over 1.2 million users with roughly 20, 000 new users registering daily. Currently there are three languages: English, Russian, and most recently, Arabic. According to Alibek Issaev, Godudu’s Creator and Chief: “Godudu’s principal objective is to break the language barriers and bring cultures together. We continuously work on perfecting our social network to offer our users a unique platform where they can experience the world in their language.”
Issaev further suggests that while there are only three languages that users can tap into at the moment, the company hopes to expand to more in the near future. Possible new languages include: Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Mandarin and Italian. Issaev notes: “We are working to add more languages and first we will target the most spoken languages in the world.”
However, the company acknowledges that the translation is still a work in progress, particularly when it comes to slang. Abdurakhman Zulumkhanov, project manager notes in an article with the National: “We want this to include slang, different dialects and natural ways of communicating, and allow people to see and understand those translations as they happen.” He went on to say: “We want to make this as user friendly as possible, and people might not have to type a full sentence, but the main thing is that we want to provide translation that makes sense.”
While the social network aims to bring people together to communicate across language barriers, it may also prove a useful learning tool for language learners. However, some experts note that word by word translations may be immensely problematic. As anyone who has ever used Google to translate long pieces of text will know, word by word translation can be useful; however, it can also be (often humorously) disastrous. On a social network, where rumours travel particularly quickly, one can see how this could prove to be a problem, and on a multi-cultural website, even dangerous. However, for the time being, Godudu has not faced any major translation problems. The real question for the social network will be: As useful as a multilingual social network may be, will they be able to lure users away from other platforms?