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Globr lets users chat, regardless of language

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March 24, 2014

Globr is an instant messaging app that allows speakers of different languages to chat

Globr is an instant messaging app that allows speakers of different languages to chat

The internet has connected and flattened the world in ways previously unimaginable. Coupled with ever more seamless translation tools, it provides the ability to communicate across borders and languages. Now, a new instant messaging tool is looking to make communication for speakers of different languages even easier.

Globr provides its users with the ability to communicate via instant messaging, regardless of the languages being used. It automatically translates text from the senders language into the chosen tongue of the recipient.

It was one of seven shortlisted entries to the Virgin Media Business Three New Things competition that didn't win, but were still deemed worthy of a special mention. The contest aimed to uncover new technologies that have the potential to change the way we live.

The concept was apparently borne of a university romance between Globr founder Jimi Ayoku and a young Russian, who between them found that the subsequent language barrier was getting the way. Ayoku began working on the concept of seamless translation for instant messaging and, after 18 months of development, Globr is close to being launched. Although the tool is currently in private beta, Gizmag has been fortunate enough to get a look.

Ayoku and his partners have built the app from the ground up, working with an external tech development team but designing the creative and the architecture in-house. It has a simple design that will be familiar to users of any other chat applications. Once the app is loaded, users are presented with a list of their recent chats, and the settings menu can be easily accessed. Language settings can be applied, and friends and contacts can be searched for and added. The company is naturally guarded about the translation process, but says that the app has been designed to adapt to each user.

Globr will launch with support for seven languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Polish, Russian and Spanish), totaling 60 language pairs. It will initially be available on Android and iOS from May, and will be targeted at students and travelers. Plans for a desktop business application are also afoot, however, with a view to connecting employees within the same organization but who are spread across the globe and speak different languages.

The initial app will be used to some extent as a means of raising the company's profile before it makes its entrance into the business market, which is expected to be during Q2 of this year.

Source: Globr

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds.   All articles by Stu Robarts
6 Comments

Definately huge potential in this field of on the fly translating, the better it gets and the more sophisticated it gets, it has a huge potential to connect the world, you could travel abroad never having to worry about not speaking the language, there is already a number of other products and companies working on similar type projects(not messengers).

Its perfect timing as when I start traveling sometime in near future I know there will be options for me that make me much more comfortable with traveling to foreign countries.

Arahant
24th March, 2014 @ 11:39 am PDT

I want to use it to translate my gibberish nonsense into correctly spelled well articulated points of view.

In all seriousness though I used to do with babblefish and Google translate. I always thought it was amazing I could talk to people around the world without a common language by using technology to kick down global barriers.

Stuff like this makes me so glad to be alive now instead of in the 1800s. I have messy penmanship as well and keyboards are generally more forgiving :)

Daishi
24th March, 2014 @ 06:55 pm PDT

Facebook needs to provide this service!

Judy Pokras
25th March, 2014 @ 09:59 am PDT

The possibilities for this in terms of international B2B or B2C is enormous. We have manufacturing in Asia, who we could speak with freely and know that both sides are understanding each other (at least our words, anyway), and could also communicate with our international visitors when they come to our ecommerce site. Great idea!

Dave Cutler
25th March, 2014 @ 11:33 am PDT

I imagine that they're relying on Google Translate or some other translation engine on the backend. Therefore, accuracy will evolve only as fast as that of the backend service. For this reason, they better have strong disclaimers in place, especially when touting its suitability for use in business.

kalqlate
25th March, 2014 @ 12:51 pm PDT

Verbalize the translation, make it portable with earbuds and a speaker and one could communicate with anyone around the world. A real boon for travelers.

JAT
25th March, 2014 @ 01:11 pm PDT
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