Talking about bridging language barriers, there is a really quick solution that I like to use for translating e.g. Chinese websites into English (of course I am still studying hard to learn the Chinese characters… but until then, I can cheat a little using this software 🙂
This solution is the translation application called Foxlingo; it is a Firefox extension (so you need to have the Firefox browser to be able to use Foxlingo), and to install it simply go to addons.mozilla.org scroll down and click the Install Now link:
After installing you will be asked to restart your Firefox browser. Once it has restarted, a window with three tabs will appear (if it doesn’t appear automatically, go to your Firefox toolbar, enter “tools” -> “extensions“, highlight Foxlingo, and click “preferences/options” – then the window with the three tabs will open). In the first tab you check which languages you would like to be able to translate to, in the second you check which languages you would like to be able to translate from, and in the third you check the translation services you want available (I recommend you check them all). Then you click OK and you will be given the option of contributing with a donation.
You now have the Foxlingo toolbar in your browser. Right click in the grey area to the right of the row of flags, and you will be able to customize – move around the different flag-buttons that represent the languages. For instance I have the Chinese flag-button next to the search field in my upper toolbar, and when I am on a Chinese website I can simply click on the flag and choose to have the site translated (e.g., Chinese simplified to English (worldlingo). Within a few seconds the site appears in an English version, which is not at all a perfect translation, but most often it will give me a decent idea about the content of the website (and one thing is for sure, it serves me much better than my current Chinese character skill level 😉
Sometimes a site will appear in no language at all, but pure gibberish, then I click back to the original Chinese site and try another of the translation services. So far, I haven’t figured out what translation services work best for what kinds of Chinese websites (any ideas?), but usually one or the other will work fine.