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Archive for September, 2010

BuzzCity Tours – October 2010

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Another busy month for the team as we continue to meet with partners across all markets:-

Categories: Uncategorized

THE INDIAN BABEL FISH

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

By Archana Ikhe, Producer, India

India is a land of so many languages. We have 23 official tongues (the most of any country in the world), 347 spoken languages and so many more dialects. Yet those who do not understand English or Hindi have often been at a disadvantage, whether it be in dealing with our courts or communicating with people from other provinces and countries.

Even in mobile social networks like myGamma, we had language barriers, because most of the content was originally posted in the largest languages. And when another language like Bengali was used, members of the Indian myGamma community were generally restricted to interacting with friends who understood it.

About fourteen months ago, though, BuzzCity launched a member-driven translation platform. It has opened up new worlds to many of our users, particularly those from small towns and villages where English is less common. They’re making new friends and can also better understand and enjoy the games and groups that add colour to the community.
 “Translation is the best feature (of myGamma),” says ACP Varun from New Dehli. “Because of this feature, many people who don’t know English language can understand and have the experience of being on a social network. All my Hindi and Punjabi friends enjoy being in myGamma and de-stress here”.


Take for example the case of Balwinder, a 25 year old mechanic from a non-descript town in Punjab, who signed up to be a volunteer Punjabi – Hindi translator. Thanks to myGamma, Balwinder says he quickly started using a dictionary and has been improving his English. He’s since become friends with men in Egypt, Indonesia and Kenya. They communicate both within and outside myGamma and unlike his early days in the mobile community, Balwinder says he can now even crack jokes with his international friends.

We now have more than 1100 volunteer translators in India, working with sixteen Indian languages. More people sign up to translate all the time. I’d say that about 70% of the translations are between English and a local language, the rest are between Indian languages.

After English, Hindi is the most popular language in the Indian myGamma community, generating more than 18,000 pageviews a day. About one-third of our translators are also Hindi. The next most used languages are Gujrati, Tamil, Bengali and Oriya. Regional languages like Bhojpuri and Chhatissgarhi are also picking fast, thanks to myGamma’s popularity in smaller towns as well as the success of the translation wiki.

It’s not just Balwinder. Indian youth in general think it’s quite cool now to know people from other countries. myGamma users say that while they may not ever physically visit 80 countries, they can taste the flavour of other nations by chatting with new friends from across the globe. And, along the way, they help spread Indian culture to other countries.

“As the translator, people have started respecting me in myGamma,” says Somya, who is pursuing a university degree and plans to become a language teacher. “I’ve also learned a few words in Egyptian Arabic.” Somya’s friends’ list is about 40% international. She’s found people from around the world who love Indian languages. Asked about which phrases she is most often requested to teach international friends, she smiles coyly and says they want to know how to say “I love you” in Bengali.

Smith Marathe, who comes from a small town called Yavatmal in Maharashtra state, usually receives a different type of request. His friends in Egypt and Saudi Arabia ask him to translate subtitles from Bollywood movies!

“In school days we experience learning languages in a totally different fashion. Now in myGamma it’s like redoing the same with absolutely different understanding and purpose,” adds Teddy, a Gujarati translator. “It’s the best thing to be student all the time, learning something new all the time. I enjoy when my Indonesian friends say “kem cho” (“How are you?” in Gujarati). When I make some attempts to talk in Indonesian language, they also just end up laughing at me. Learning new language gives sheer joy”.

Categories: Archana Ikhe