Last year, the team of palabea.com from Berlin introduced its new project. „The world can be also in your room“, told us Mr Guido Veth, a realisation team member and one of the founders of this web project. We asked him for an interview to explain further people the purposes and the aspirations of this ambicious project.
In your press materials placed on your web, you quote the words of the European comissar Leonard Orban. Why do you find these words so up-to-date?
Mr Orban pointed out the importance of multiliguism in context of globalisation, mobility and migration. In our opinion these words reflect common society, people have the freedom to move to other countries which is followed by an increasing cultural diversity. In this case Multilinguism is the doorway to build bridges between people rather than seeing division.
Access to the languages is probably not just one of the first steps to get to know other cultures but it might be the very first step. Who should do this step and why is it so important to do it?
Palabea with the other founders Patricia Sierra and Sebastian Schkudlara started as a result of the influence of two relevant issues that, to us, define today’s society: globalisation and the impact of information and communication technologies.
If we regard globalisation as a process in which cultural diversity is respected, it’s crucial that people understand each other, regardless of their place of origin. The ability to speak and understand foreign languages is essential for people of modern societies. Language is the doorway to understanding other people’s way of living, and it enables cross-cultural tolerance.
Palabea strives for multilingualism, encouraging people to learn languages and understand other cultures.
Your web is available in four language versions. The people (palabea members) can, of course, use hundreds or thousands of languages – it is only up to them. You told us, you are focused on Asian languages, too. What do you think about it – many people are interested in Asian languages – is it only a fad or is it a serious long-time interest?
The palabea users can of course learn as many languages as they wish. Obviously the more common languages like english or spanish make up a lot more content and material than others. But our aim is that palabea is a place where even less commonly spoken languages are spoken and learned.
On the other hand to easily access palabea it is helpful to have the interface in your own language. As palabea is translated into english, spanish, french and german at the moment we are planing to translate it in many languages. We are first concentrating on the most spoken languages like mandarin chinese or japanese. But with the help of our users i am sure that palabea will be translated in many, many more languages in the nearby future.
A language academy called Berlitz carried out a study on the most important languages. Using their data from 450 teaching centers in 50 countries, madarin chinese (the most spoken language on the world) is by far the language with the highest rate of demand in the past 20 years, which underlines a long-time interest.
What about the technical specification – how does your web work, what technology do we need, how is it possible to become a palabea member? The service is free of charge at this time – what about in the future?
Palabea is very user-friendly, thanks to its clear interface and simple design. While developing palabea, we focused on making the platform easily accessible for anybody.. There is no specific technology needed to use palabea. All you need to register on the website is a valid email adress.
Our communication tool enables the users to do online text, audio and video chat with people from all ofer the world without installing any software. So we overcame the problem that people have installed different tools to communicate on their computer, like skype, msn or icq. Using palabea they are not bounded to their own computer, they can communicate from every computer whereever they. The palabea service is free of charge and will remain free for all private users without any limitations.
Thank you for the inteview. We wish many successful years to your project.