Requirements for adding languages

What are the requirements for a language to be added? Are they:

spoken introductory content
a reliable embeddable instant translation dictionary
tweaks to permit any unusual characters (doesn’t unicode solve that?)

More simple (complicated?) than that even:

1000 votes on a facebook poll is the requirement.

I think the reason for a hurdle like that is, to make sure that some effort is worthwhile. My question goes to the effort. What is the effort required? For example, why not add ten languages tomorrow (hypothetically). My guess is that ensuring the availability of some introductory content is the main hurdle. Collecting that per language is probably challenging.

Well, I doubt they will tell us how much it costs in money to start a language, but I’m sure it costs something in the upper hundreds, if not thousands if you consider sustained support. Labor and hosting is not cheap.

If they added 10 languages tomorrow, they would be hemorrhaging money, I’d imagine. According to my interpretation of some posts I’ve read by Steve in other threads, I think they might be kicking themselves in the feet for adding Romanian.

I think, provided unlimited funds, finding the content would be easy. The internet is pretty big these days.

The reason why there is a requirement of 1000 votes on the Facebook Poll is because that gives the assumption of people wanting to learn the language, so more members/activity on the website. So, if there is a language you would like to learn, I would suggest campaigning for it, so it can get the 1000 votes.

I imagine it costs time more than anything to add a new language. The language would need setup in the system with dictionaries, recommended sources and so on. On the point djvlbass made about the LingQ crew kicking themselves about adding Romanian… they might be considering the lack of interest in the language on the site so far. Steve is making most of the lessons and you can probably get in the top 15 activity score for Romanian by completing just one lesson. I don’t think they expected that so many people could be rallied to vote for a language they weren’t planning on studying.

As for getting a language officially supported as opposed to just being a beta language, they need a reason to do so. So it needs to be popular on the site in terms of the amount of people studying it and it needs to have a sizable library. I don’t know how sizable but I imagine the basic lessons that all the supported languages have would be a good indicator. (Lessons like Who is She, etc)

How do you see top activity scores per language?

Cgreen, your comment made me wonder why they decided to go the voting route. I would be surprised if there are 1000 fully active users of lingq currently on all languages overall, let alone per language! Maybe they should do market research, instead. Maybe that would be too. I’d like to see more active users, as that would (hopefully) mean more original content.

I’d be interested to hear about how lingq is advertised. I’ve seen quite a few people from unexpected places in the world, and I scratch my head wondering how they found out about this place. (I’m looking at you that one Iran flag I’ve seen! ;p) I guess word of mouth is fairly powerful in the age of the internet.

I would think that simply piling on the languages would result in expanded market opportunities. That’s why I think there must be some bottleneck, that makes it a chore to add a language. I don’t think the bottleneck is diskspace or bandwidth, because a fraction of interested people pay, and diskspace is terribly cheap nowadays. I don’t think the problem is programming, because all that would differ would be character management (but there is probably a universal solution in unicode??) and making certain dictionary sources appear inline (but at worst, that’s just a web seek/display, such as with “add other resources” under “dictionaries”). So I think the bottleneck must be making sure there is reasonable content, both written and auditory. I think that finding the people to write it and speak it, and dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s (getting all the permissions etc.) is probably the bottleneck. One would have to go to the respective countries, or do a lot of e-networking, to line up the people. That’s probably the time and money constraint. Just guessing.

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@djvlbass - I think the primary purpose of the facebook poll is to promote the site and get new users to sign up. They put it at 1000 votes to put off needing to spend time setting up new languages on a regular basis.

@creimann - You can view the activity scores for the languages on the site by clicking on the Exchange section. The rankings are on the right side of the page and the filter controls are on the left.

@cgreen - coool! thanks for that tip! Congrats on your ranking in Japanese.