Meebo and Its Language Wiki

How IM company Meebo created a wiki to tap the knowledge of its users to create translations for popular phrases in different languages.

This morning, I met with Meebo, the instant chat/communications company, and they had an interesting case study for the power of Wikis. So Meebo is a startup--one with $3.5 million, mind you, from Sequoia--but still a company that's running flat and can always use some help.

So using a Wiki, they're getting help from their users. Back in May, after getting requests for Spanish-language translations, they asked their users what other languages they might be interested in. WIhtin 24 hours they had gotten 150 emails full of different language requests.

How to respond to such a varied demand? Their decision was to harness the smarts of their users. They set up a Wiki and asked people to submit translations to different common phrases. Now they have phrases from around 50 languages available, including Zulu, Thai, and yes, Bork, the language of the Swedish chef on the muppets.

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