Ahem. What follows is a cleaned-up transcript of a conversation I just had with a very lovely young lady; the Moneypenny to my Q. Err, ahem again. I am using Ego here to refer to the self, as per Joe's convention.
Ego: You know what would be awesome?
Ego: A universal dictionary
Ego: I don't know if anyone online maintains one
Ego: But you could type in any word, specify your native language, and then it would pull up the definition, translating all possible results into English
Becca: I've never understood how you check the spelling of a word using the dictionary if you don't know how to spell it.
Ego: Neither do I
Ego: Though most sites will suggest matches
Ego: But I think that would be so cool to be able to look up words in different languages without knowing from what language it came
Ego: Since usually all the hint you get when you're reading a book is that it's in italics
Becca: Would you get the definition in your language?
Becca: (that is a good point you make)
Ego: Like you could type in "tres" and it would bring up the language "French" and tell you what it meant in English
Becca: How many servers do you think it would take to handle all the baziillions of words and hits to the site?
Ego: That's why you specify your language
Ego: But if you're German, you can still do the same thing
Ego: And it will tell you the definition in German
Ego: I don't know. Ask Joe.
Becca: What if there IS no translation in your language. Sometimes words can't be translated b/c corresponding words or phrases don't exist in the other language.
Becca: e.g. some languages only have two or three colors.
Ego: That's not an issue for the site
Ego: We would handle it however the dictionary companies handle it
Ego: We could again suggest nearest matches
Becca: or say something like... another color?
Becca: That would be amazing. You should do it. :-)
Becca: If a word appears in many languages, would you list all of them?
Ego: All possible matches
Becca: what if it appeared in say 500 languages or more? Most popular first?
Ego: Sorted by most recent estimates of # of speakers
Ego: Or we could do it alphabetically
Ego: Doesn't matter
Ego: It would be alphabetically in your native language
Ego: Since I know you were going to ask
Becca: hee hee... actually, I hadn't thought about that yet... but good point.
What I'm looking for from you, the potential shareholders of the Shiny Red Ball Corp. is a cost-profit analysis of the problems and benefits of such a venture. I'd like to sell the idea to a dictionary company (like Berlitz or something!) rather than run the thing myself and worry about leasing definitions, updating them ourselves, or relying on a Wiki-Web nightmare of moderating native speaker contributions.
This idea is hereby copyright © me, unless anyone else knows of such a site out there for which you don't have to specify the language you're looking up.
P.S., it's fun to surf WikiWeb with mozilla's autofind feature. Just start typing a word till it hits and link and GO from there. Oh man.