If you are like most people in Qatar, your Facebook and Twitter probably have friends and followers from all over the world. And while it’s great to have international friends, when their native language is different than yours and they post or tweet in it, you may have no clue what they are saying. I have had posts in my newsfeed in Arabic, French, Spanish (which I am trying to learn!), Hungarian, Tamil and probably more that I didn’t even recognize.
A recent post on Tech Crunch brought my attention to Xiha (which means “fun” or “happy” in Mandarin), a social networking site launched in Finland that aims to connect people across the globe through a multilingual interface. The Tech Crunch article highlighted that you can now bring your Facebook and Twitter feeds into Xiha and translate any foreign language ones with just one click. The translate feature is powered by Google Translate so it covers almost all languages, including Arabic.
I signed-up for an Xiha account and was easily able to integrate my Facebook and Twitter feeds into its social news feed. Thankfully a friend from Mexico posted his status in Spanish and I could try out the translate featured. It worked as advertised – with one click I had the English. Very simple.
As for the rest of the Xiha site, I wasn’t really a big fan. I found it somewhat confusing in terms of how to find friends, how to share my blog and how to search for travel tips – something it advertises as a main feature. It also has a weird Xiha points system that you can use to buy games and other products. Not really what I was looking for, but maybe others would like it. You can also view people’s photos and profiles through the site, but this seemed pretty basic to me and was nowhere on par with Facebook.
So overall, I love the quick translate feature, but am not sure about the rest of your site. Certainly if you have a lot of international friends that post in various languages, Xiha is worth checking out. I would love to see Facebook copy the translate concept! Definitely let me know if you find any of the other features on Xiha useful or unique.