Twitter Translation Center uses crowd-sourced translations for new languages


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Twitter launched its Twitter Translation Center on Monday in an effort to turn its users into translating volunteers who will help convert the social media company’s products into new languages.

The Translation Center opens up; Twitter’s mobile, business and help websites; and Twitter’s mobile apps for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems to translation that is crowd sourced by those who use the popular platform to send out messages in 140 characters or less.


Twitter is looking to add Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish to the list of languages in which it is currently offered. The service is already available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish and those languages will also be available to volunteers in the Translation Center in an attempt to improve already translated sites and apps.

Translators who take part in the Translation Center will be translating Twitter’s products, not the messages sent out on Twitter.

The translations take place on the Translation Center’s website and the San Francisco-based company has also set up a Twitter account, @translator, to help recruit translators and answer questions about the process.

For a few hours on Monday, the Translation Center’s Website was sporadically unavailable to users looking to translate.

Twitter employees at the @translator account told users the company was ‘working on some stability issues.’

A company spokeswoman was unavailable to comment on what stability issues the Twitter Translation Center site was dealing with on Monday.


Twitter said in a company blog post that it has been using crowd sourcing to launch in new languages since October 2009 but had never before done so in a centralized effort open to all of its users.

The launch of the Translation Center comes as many Middle Eastern countries are protesting for democratic reforms in their nations and using social media such as Twitter to help organize demonstrations.

The service was also a valuable organizing tool for protesters in recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.


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Top image: The Twitter Translation Center website. Credit: Twitter

Bottom image: Twitter’s @translator account addressing stability issues with the Translation Center’s site on Monday. Credit: Twitter