Ever heard of the language race? Youve probably witnessed language analysts throwing around statistics about the most popular languages on the internet, but very few produce reports about lesser known, growing, or even endangered languages. The growing social learning network and online dictionary / multilingual reference site, TermWiki.com, took steps this week to encourage its users to participate in a de facto language race: a wiki-based competition in which writers, linguists and translators compete to push their native language to the top of the most active list online.
Competition is a fundamental component of any culture. It generates interest and participation. In short, competition gets people emotionally involved in what they care about. Considering the Olympics, World Cup and Oscars, competitions are respected as marking the highest achievement in whichever area of life they celebrate. Surprisingly, however, competition among world languages is something you dont often hear aboutuntil now.
The internet has been touted as something that transcends borders and languages. However, the overwhelming majority of online content today is still in English. To counteract this phenomenon, TermWikis language race gives voice to lesser known languages as users compete to push their own language to the top of the chart. Through the notion of a race, TermWiki seems to have set the stage for an unprecedented competition among its users to dispel the myths of popular internet languages and promote the visibility of less mainstream lingua franca around the world.
For linguists and translators, this language race is not just about pride in your own language, nor is it just about seeing your mother tongue among the top languages represented on the internet. Its also about providing practical marketing and networking opportunities to help knowledge workers, translators promote their own linguistic, terminology and translation skills to potential buyers. Unlike Wikipedia, which hides the information of its authors, TermWiki uses a combination of user profiles, instant messaging, and term ownership management to create a professional networking platform through which content developers can connect with peers and potential clients.
Links on each new or translated term lead interested viewers to the profile page of the author or translator, and from there to his or her personal website, CV and contact details. As an added benefit, because of TermWikis highly categorized infrastructure of industry and product-oriented glossaries, recruiters searching for industry-specific terminology in obscure languages can use the site to find subject-matter experts and translators working in their sector.
Wondering how to join the race? All you need to do is register for a free account at TermWiki.com, and start adding new terms or translating existing terms directly in your browser using TermWikis built-in translation workbench. For translators or writers out there with existing glossaries, there is also an option to import terms from Microsoft Excel for much faster speed.