One of the nice things about Twitter is how easy it is to connect with people all over the world. For example, think of how Twitter has been used to help people communicate during disasters, providing real-time information about the Haiti earthquake to people across the globe. Unfortunately, at the moment, it’s only possible to communicate with people who are tweeting in the same language as you. However, Twitter’s language barrier may be about to come down: PCMag.com is reporting that the Twitter team may soon unveil an Auto-Translate feature for tweets.
Details are a little sketchy at the moment, as Twitter hasn’t yet released any details. However, writer Mark Hachman noticed that, for brief period of time on Wednesday of last week, the results page for trending topics featured 2 new options: the option to limit the tweets shown to a specific language and the option to automatically translate non-English tweets:
The results page (from one of Wednesday’s trending topics, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”) allows a user to filter a tweet by language, from Arabic to Icelandic to Thai. But just above that appeared a clickable option to translate the tweets on the page to my preferred language, English.
It’s not uncommon for Twitter to test out new features without announcing them before they are ready to roll out. The new feature appears to use Google Translate to provide the translations, so they probably won’t be perfect but they should get the point across.
There hasn’t been any official announcement about when the service will be available consistently for everyone, but look for it sometime in the near future. Once they get it rolled out, Twitter will become an even more powerful channel for global communication.