Starlight Connect - Summer 2010
Starbright World Expands its Reach
As part of Starlight’s ongoing effort to serve more children and teens, the Starbright World online social network for seriously ill teens and their teen-aged siblings has just unveiled new capabilities for Spanish and French-speakers.
Leveraging Google’s translate tool, content across the site such as comments, posts, polls and bulletin board announcements will be dynamically translated into whatever language a teen member has selected. Static graphics and the registration page have also been adapted to reflect language choice.
The new multi-language functionality of Starbright World was made possible by Vivendi, the site’s signature sponsor. Through its Create Joy Program, Vivendi has generously supported the Starbright World redesign project over the last two years—from pre-production and rebranding to a major technological overhaul.
“How exciting that Starbright World now includes a Spanish option,” says Anna Pereira, Recreation Therapy & Child Life Manager at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Los Angeles. “Although Starbright World has always been an amazing social network for hospitalized teens, very few of our patients have been able to participate because it has only been offered in English and approximately 80 percent of the patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles are Spanish speakers. It’s wonderful that Starlight recognizes the need to provide services to a more diverse population of pediatric patients.”
The translation feature follows on the introduction of Spanish-language chat events on Starbright World in 2009. French-language chats will soon be introduced.
“I probably spend about an hour on Starbright World every day catching up with my friends and making new ones. I have friends from all over – Arizona, Maryland, Kansas, Canada and lots of other places. On Starbright World, there are always kids online when I need someone to talk to or when I’m not feeling well,” says one Starlight teen. “Even if they don’t have the exact same health problems that I do, or come from a different background than I do, they still know what it feels like to be sick, and what to say to help me. It’s probably because of all we’ve been through that we are so accepting of one another.”
“Childhood illness doesn’t discriminate — it strikes children of every age, ethnicity, socio-economic background, religion and region of the country,” says Starlight AVP of Operations Claudia Linh. “Our vision is to ensure that all of our programs are accessible to every child, parent or sibling who needs them, whether at home or the hospital, and language is a big part of ensuring that accessibility.”