Smart Mobs Introduction

Welcome to the Worldwide Lexicon. Smart Mobs is the first official tester for our project. So welcome aboard.

The Worldwide Lexicon is an experiment in collaborative translation, where the people who read a site on a regular basis help to translate it and share it with the world. With readers around the world, Smart Mobs is a great test case for this project. This is an open source project. We will be sharing the code used by and are working on a complete package of language translation tools for publishers and web service providers.

Here is a quick tutorial about how to use the Worldwide Lexicon system.

To Read Translations

This procedure will change soon. For now, just go to Underneath each website you’ll see a list of language codes (for example, GL is Galician). If the code is red that means someone has posted translations. If it is blue, there are no translations yet. When you click on a code, you’ll see a list of headlines. Click on a headline and you’ll see the original text and any translations posted so far. (Soon we will have friendly URLs so you’ll be able to go to

To Make or Edit Translations

To contribute translations, follow the same procedure. Creating and editing translations is easy. Just edit and replace the text from the source document in the translation form, click on TRANSLATE and your changes will be saved. The interface is a bit rough, but it works. We’ll be making a lot of minor improvements to the user interface.

Displaying Translations In Other Websites

We provide RSS feeds for every language that a website is translated to. For example, the address for the Spanish feed for Smart Mobs is

If your blog or site publishing service allows you to import RSS feeds, importing a translated feed from Smart Mobs, or any other WWL site, is as simple as importing an RSS news source. We’ll be adding more and more RSS feed options in the near future (and friendlier URLs).

Bugs and Issues To Be Aware of

The Worldwide Lexicon service was opened to the public on Thursday, April 5th. The demo is basic, but clearly demonstrates where this idea can go. We are continually updating the service, both to fix bugs, and to improve the experience for users.

Smart Mobs users should go to the first Smart Mobs entry in the list (there may be a second entry further down, ignore it if you see it there).

The system currently works well with most RSS feeds. You can register any site with an RSS feed, so if you have a favorite blog in Germany you’d like to share with the world, all you need to do is paste its RSS feed address into Add a Feed and it should appear in the index. It’s that simple. After adding a site, make a couple of test translations, and confirm that they are saved (we have a bug where translations are not saved, but it only affects certain sites, and FeedBurner feeds).

If you find a problem, please post a comment to the Bugs page. If you have general comments, requests for features, etc, please email brian ()


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