Do you follow any blogs that spontaneously switch between multiple languages? I do, and my friend Laurent Flores is one of those cases. He lures me in through our friendship and his interesting content — in English — and then forces me to revert to my amateur, high-school French at the drop of a dime. My last name and ancestors may hail from France, but my French still is very, very bad.
Thinking macro, the Web is a forceful communications platform partly because it so effectively breaks down barriers of time and geography. But the barriers of language in textual communication still very much exist. I’m not sure if machine or human translators will ever be up to the challenge of stepping in and facilitating the conversational nature of social media’s information exchange. That’s why universal expressions of sight, sound and motion will likely play a greater role as the Web infrastructure evolves to facilitate them more effectively; think online photos, audio and video services, including sophisticated ways of organizing and searching their content. Of course, we already know these latter expression forms can be extremely powerful, and serve as massive catalysts for linguistic communication and viral information pass-along.