Cross-lingual curation platform
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cojiro is a platform for discovering and sharing conversations across languages.

(In the spirit of Readme Driven Development, this text describes an application that is not yet implemented. For an up-to-date overview of implemented features see the latest build on Travis-CI.)


An earthquake has hit Japan, and the world wants to know what is happening. Information is pouring out in blogs, bulletin boards, video sharing sites and local websites, but the voices on the ground are buried in the noise, and the language they are speaking in is Japanese.

Enter cojiro, a platform designed to enable people with complementary skill sets to identify, group and convey stories in one language to a broader audience in another language. The platform is based on the idea that in order to effectively bridge language barriers, content should only be translated if there is an audience who will actually read it.

To do this, cojiro appeals to two key user groups to narrow the focus of translation: domain experts in the source language, whose knowledge of local contexts and specific topics is essential to uncovering and grouping interesting conversations, and readers in the target language, who can evaluate which of these conversations would be of interest to foreign audiences.

Closing the feedback loop between these groups would make cross-lingual sharing and collaboration a much more seamless process—and, we believe, a much more interesting and exciting one.


General features:

  • Sign-in via Twitter or Facebook, no need to remember new logins or passwords
  • Set language preferences to tailor presentation of language-specific content
  • Submit and index media sources (articles, tweets, videos, photos) in any supported language with a single click
  • Collaborate in real-time with users in other languages to organize sources (links) into multilingual discussion threads
  • Discuss content with users in other languages via multilingual threaded commenting

For bilinguals:

  • Share content across your social networks by translating content metadata from articles, tweets, videos or photos using simple in-place editing
  • Create re-usable translated excerpts (quotes) to include in your blog or in multilingual discussion threads

For curators:

  • Apply your knowledge of a specific topic to arrange and organize media sources into a natural flow using built-in bundling functions
  • Find new audiences by gauging interest in your content among users in other language(s) through activity metrics

For storywriters:

  • Discover story leads in languages you don’t speak by searching translated metadata (titles, summaries, excerpts)
  • Get help looking for relevant sources in multiple languages by posting questions and calls for help


cojiro is built on the following gems and frameworks:

  • omniauth: rack middleware-based authentication system for logging in via Twitter/Facebook
  • globalize3: rails plugin for seamlessly translating user content into any number of languages
  • embedly-ruby: client library for embedly API, used to preload embed data from URLs for popular social media services (YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, etc.)
  • carrierwave: for image uploads
  • sass: for structuring stylesheets awesomely
  • bootstrap: for sensible css defaults
  • backbone.js: for rich client-side user interaction
  • require.js: for organizing client-side code
  • faye: for real-time interaction


We use:


We welcome feature suggestions, bug fixes and pull requests, as well as help with interface localization to new languages. For more information see the wiki.


Cojiro is sponsored by a grant from the Omidyar Network, as a recipient of the Global Voices Innovation Award.

Cojiro also receives support from Tokyo-based creative agency AQ.

Global Voices Omidyar Network AQ


Copyright (c) 2011-2013 NetaLab. See MIT-LICENSE for details.