kontrib.bmpKontrib is a new site that copies the popular social news site Digg, but translates articles into foreign languages.

Traffic on the site is light, because it is still early days, but worth a mention because it flies in the face of the blatant disregard most mainstream sites have for foreign markets. Indeed, investors and others often even shy away from companies if they have too much exposure abroad, in part because of their inability to draw advertising revenue, as this story in the Mercury News by Constance Loizos explained (we link to a cached version, since article has since disappeared behind the Merc’s registration wall).

To submit and vote on articles at Kontrib, you first register. After you submit an article, Kontrib’s linguistic machines immediately translate articles into supported languages. These are Arabic, English, French, and Spanish, with more to come later. Kontrib is slick because it translates both the article summary hosted at Kontrib’s site, and the original article linked to. Comments are also translated. See below for partial screenshot of a recently submitted VentureBeat piece, previewed here, and in full translation here.

Until now, language translation has remained clumsy. There are text translation sites such as BabelFish, or Google’s language tool. The coming Worldwide Lexicon Project promises to help bloggers translate their sites by mobilizing interested readers. Human volunteers will translate sites with higher quality, argues Brian McConnell, the project’s leader, and they’ll translate into any language. Though, we’d argue that human efforts will vary in quality.

Kontrib draws its technology from parent company Language Weaver. (More details here.) Kontrib is led by Felix Lung, and based in Marina del Rey, Ca. The company announces today that it has been spun out as a separate company.

kontribscreen.bmp