A young Trowbridge entrepreneur wants to connect language learners after creating a social network to link them to native speakers of foreign tongues.
Jake Stainer, 20, designed what was to become his site www.papora.com when he was just 16, to help people who speak different languages to learn from each other.
The social networking site, which is free to join, allows people to interact and talk to each other.
Mr Stainer, now in his second year studying for a degree in marketing at Abery- stwyth University, said: “I came up with the idea after going on a Spanish exchange and found out the best way to learn Spanish was speaking with real people.
“It’s a language exchange service. You can find people who have the same interests as you – such as music, films – and the native language that you want to learn. It’s like a language pen pal.
“It started with just English and Spanish speakers and now we have speakers worldwide and 9,500 members.
“You can talk to each other on the website itself, after you initially send a message. “You can talk via audio and video, as well as writing, so you can practise writing, listening, speaking and reading.”
Mr Stainer relaunched the redesigned website – formerly known as penpalparade.com – on Wednesday last week, to tie in with the European Day of Languages.
The former John of Gaunt pupil chose the name papora, after an extinct Taiwanese language, as it is easy to spell and pronounce in many different tongues.
He said: “I’ve changed the name and the whole branding and it’s easier to use.
“I’ve been building websites, since I was 11, and making different things and it came from there. I want to get to 10,000 members.
“It’s something I want to turn into a business. I’ve got a few ideas to monetise it by offering online language courses and that sort of thing.”
Mr Stainer has been helped with the redesigned site by Trowbridge IT company JPCi, which has agreed to host it for a year, free of charge.
He said: “I’m very grateful. Thanks to them I’m able to expand.”