It’s almost impossible not to notice these days how many people are coming into Second Life that are outside the good ol’ U.S. of A. And I don’t just mean from the UK (like Keeva and Woodie, not to mention the esteemed Ms. Malaprop) or the Land Down Under (like Shockwave and Tateru), either.
Last night, a young lady from Argentina spent some quality time at the Gin Rummy, having an animated political discussion with Danielle, in Spanish. (Danielle confessed she was relying on Babelfish and her superior typing skills to understand the conversation.) The night before, Danielle and I were over at GuRL 6 when I overheard some young ladies talking in Finnish behind us. (I called Pamela over to the computer, since she’s been studying Finnish recently. She recognized a few of the words.) The night before that, the Frogg & Jaycatt show at the GR was well-attended by French-speakers. I’ve also been in a position to overhear speakers of Dutch and Turkish in the past, too.
I figure LL’s strategy to try and attract more people from outside the U.S. is working pretty well; maybe there was some small benefit to throwing open the floodgates on the infamous date of 6/6/06. (What? Heresy! 🙂 ) And it’s certainly going to make SL a more interesting place with all these people around from a variety of backgrounds. I’m a teensy bit surprised that so many people from so many places have the computing horsepower and bandwidth to run the client and connect to the Grid in San Francisco, but not as surprised as I might have been a few years ago; this stuff wants to spread like wildfire.
Of course, some of us are going to have communication gaps to bridge. I was capable of understanding a little bit of what that young lady from Argentina was saying; when she asked me “no bailas Erbo?” I was able to respond, “Oh, si, si! Un momento…” and reach over to click on the dance machine on the wall. (I lived in Southern California up until 1999; you can’t live there and not pick up at least a smattering of Spanish.) When the conversation really got going, though, I was no longer able to follow it. I suppose I could have used Babelfish myself, or one of the many in-world objects that act as a front end to it (and, in fact, it’s now a built-in function of the incomparable Multi Gadget); while machine translation is still a bit shaky, it’s good enough to hold at least a rudimenary conversation. I’d do a little better if the conversation were in German; I had three years of that in high school, but I’m somewhat rusty. No wonder LL is no longer accepting applications for Mentors from North America at least from people that aren’t fluent in a foreign language…
In summary, to all our new friends from faraway lands, greetings, in whatever language you speak. And, if you don’t mind, come on over to Don’t Panic! Designs and check out our line of “World Tees” (designed by me)…each one has a country’s flag and the name of that country in their language. Show your colors with pride!