Yahoo Pipes, How to aggregate Feeds even in foreign languages

Yahoo Pipes provides an easy to use way of manipulating information from the web in order to create custom feeds. With its easy to use graph based Graphical User Interface (GUI) you can pull together and link data from RSS sources, Flickr, Yahoo searches and arbitrary web pages with minimum hassle.

When you know how Yahoo Pipes lets you filter information, comb through data, mash up the results and build ways to view that information (see some of the most popular here). But Pipes is also a fun way to interact with data, as well as a powerful data journalism tool.

But for now I will focus on  the basics and show you a trick that allows you to use foreign language feeds in your work.

How to use Yahoo Pipes.

First you’ll need to go to and register with the site, if you have a Yahoo, Flikr or Google account though you can sign through them.

Aggregating several RSS feeds into one:

  • Once Logged onto Yahoo Pipes click on the ‘Create a Pipe’ button highlighted in blue in the top middle of the screen.

which should look a little something like this

  • You will be greeted by a page that looks like graph paper saying ‘Drag Modules Here’.

  • On the left column are a number of buttons – called ‘modules’ – arranged within different categories. Click on the ‘Sources’ category and find the module called ‘Fetch Feed’. Click and drag this onto the graphed area or double click the module.
  • Copy the URL of the RSS feed you want to use and paste it into the available box. To add extra feeds click on the plus (+) icon next to URL and further input boxes will appear. Paste the extra feeds into each new box.
  • Connecting the ‘Fetch Feed’ module to the Pipe Output will now aggregate all the feeds. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the Fetch Feed module and drag it to the circle at the top of ‘Pipe Output’. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.

  •  Click on save, give the pipe a name, and then click run pipe and you will have your feeds in one easy to read list.

Text in any foreign languages though will remain the same, and this is where Yahoo Pipes translation tools come in handy.

The translation tool used by Yahoo, BabelFish, only functions in a limited number of languages and is pretty clumsy even in those. You certainly couldn’t rely on it to produce a clear and understandable feed for readers.

But for those of you with a slightly more global outlook in your work, using YahooPipes in this way can often prove very useful –  highlighting leads in other countries for you to follow up that you otherwise wouldn’t see.

Translating Foreign Language Feeds:

  • With your foreign language feeds already in the Fetch Feed module go to the left hand column and click on the category marked ‘Deprecated’ and find a module called ‘BabelFish’. Click and drag this onto the graphed area or double click the module.

  • You now need to connect the ‘Fetch Feed’ module to the ‘BabelFish’ module. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the ‘Fetch Feed’ module and drag it to the circle at the top of ‘BabelFish’. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.
  • Using the settings in the BabelFish module you can choose to translate the feed
  • Finally, you need to connect the BabelFish module to the Pipe Output, as discussed before, which should look a little something like this:

Once this is done you can begin playing around with your new feeds; filtering, sorting and splitting the newly translated information in any way you want.(Click here to see a rugby feed I have set up to find information on the upcoming Rugby World Cup using English and French RSS feeds). 

For more information there are plenty of Yahoo Pipes tutorials available here, or alternatively stay tuned for more updates on this blog.


About Sam Francis

Freelance journalist. Former MA Investigative Journalism student at City University, London. Lover of data, admirer of information, seducer of computers.
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