MeGlobe is a new startup designed to bridge the language gap in the world of instant messaging. The free service lets you chat in real-time with people in 15 different languages, translating their IMs into your default language almost on-the-fly.
The platform is completely web-based and requires no downloads. You only have to fill out a quick form to get started, then its interface opens up within your browser. You can search for people based on name, gender, language, country, or a number of other factors, then initiate auto-translated chats.
The translations are still a bit rough — as the service’s developers readily admit — and that makes any actual conversation prove to be a bit tricky. I chatted with someone who spoke Portuguese and someone who spoke Chinese, and neither conversation really got past basic pleasantries before getting lost in translation.
Right now, MeGlobe supports English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Greek, Swedish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Chinese traditional, and Chinese simplified languages. The service launched last month.