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Next Year, Twitter Will Be Available in Arabic

Popular messaging service Twitter just announced that it would be broadening its appeal by launching in Arabic next year. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced the plans in an interview with Abu Dhabi’s The National.

Currently, Arabic speakers who want to use Twitter must either tweet in English, tweet in “Arabish,” a system used to render Arabic words using Roman numerals and letters, or use one of the Arabic-language Twitter clients instead of the Twitter website itself.

Fast Company notes that optimizing the Twitter homepage for the Arabic language will be a bit of a challenge for Twitter, since Arabic is read from right to left instead of left to right.

Considering how many Twitter users use the service via text message, another challenge is the fact that many cell phones don’t have Arabic keypad options available. Read more

K International 2014 Twitter Template

Twitter Background Template 2014

So you may have noticed twitter recently tweaked its user interface design, this got us around to thinking that we could use some of that screen real estate for a bit of extra marketing for our business translation service.

It turns out we were a bit late to the party, many companies are already adopting the idea. You may have seen a few profiles that place extra information in their twitter background or design their image to fit around the feed, have you ever wondered how its done? We can show you the ropes, to do it accurately you need a template. This removes much of the trial and error out of getting things lined up as intended.

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Twitter Enters the Murky World of Machine Translation

Twitter Enters the Murky World of Machine Translation

Last week you may have heard, or even seen, that Twitter has been trialling automated translation of tweets from certain individuals in Egypt. Following the recent political upheaval, the former president Mohammed Morsi, opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei and Arab Spring activist Wael Ghonim have all had tweets made available to non-Arabic speaking readers.

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Twitter Expands Use of Bing Translation

To celebrate the beginning of the World Cup in Brazil, Twitter has begun using Bing Translation to make it easier to read tweets in other languages.

The translation feature was already available on the Twitter webpage and Windows phones, and Twitter began testing it on its Android app a couple of weeks ago. Now, it’s been made available on the iOS app for Apple devices. That should cover most smartphone users, with the exception of the last few stubborn BlackBerry users.

Currently, to translate a tweet from the one of the mobile apps, you have to exit the timeline by clicking on the individual tweet. However,  Twitter also just made it easier to translate tweets on its webpage directly in the timeline. Now, all you have to do is click on the grey globe icon in the top right corner of the tweet, and you’ll get an option to view the translation. The translation appears below the original tweet.

According to CNET:

“The changes could increase Twitter’s already considerable utility and influence as a global communications medium. People use Twitter not just to find about about sporting events in Brazil, but also political protests in Turkey, elections in Europe, and civil war in Syria.”

While machine translation is the only realistic option for a service like Twitter, it’s important to keep in mind that machine translation is far from perfect at this point.  Combine that with how quickly information and misinformation alike spread on Twitter, and it will be interesting to see what happens. I predict that in the months to come, we’ll have plenty of examples of both the potential and the pitfalls of this technology.

What do you think of Twitter’s new translation options?

Twitter May Soon Offer Auto-Translate Feature

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.

Twitter: the New Haiku?‎

Twitter, the microblogging social network that limits users to “tweets” of 140 characters or less, is growing across the globe. However, communicating with the world in 140-character bursts has really taken off in Japan, especially after the earthquake and its accompanying tsunami earlier this year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Twitter’s Japanese membership increased by one third in just the first week after the earthquake. Of course, with other forms of communication cut off during the disaster, it’s not surprising that more people would jump on the Twitter bandwagon in an attempt to stay in touch with the outside world. Read more

Twitter Now Speaks Korean

Popular microblogging service Twitter just learned a new language: Korean. As of Wednesday, January 19th, Korean users can now send and receive tweets in their native Hangul alphabet from the Twitter website itself, instead of having to resort to a third-party application to translate the site.

In a Korean-language press release translated in the San Francisco Chronicle, Twitter wrote:

“With this launch, Twitter is now available in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Korean. With 70 percent of Twitter accounts belonging to users outside the U.S., it’s important for us to make Twitter available in as many languages as possible, and we hope to support even more by the end of this year.”

Why Korea? At a press conference, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams says that the decision was a result of increased demand. Read more

The Pope Tweets in Latin

Change sometimes comes slowly to the Catholic Church. However, last month the Vatican’s communications strategy took a huge leap forward when Pope Benedict XVI joined other world leaders on Twitter, under the username @Pontifex.

At first, his Holiness tweeted in English on his main account, with 7 other accounts dedicated to tweets in languages including Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. Last weekend, the Pope launched another account, this time in Latin. Read more

To Tweet or Not To Tweet-That Is the Question

Well, its official. “Twitter” has officially joined the English language as a verb, at least according to the Associated Press.

The latest addition of the AP’s Stylebook (the style Bible for most of the press) includes the verb “to Twitter” as acceptable usage. Of course, if you use Twitter, you may be aware that some people say “to tweet” instead of “to twitter.”

Snotty grammar geeks on both sides of the divide often step up to ostentatiously correct each other in blog comments and forums.

Currently, it’s almost impossible to talk about Twitter without sounding foolish to somebody. Nobody disputes that an update posted on Twitter is a tweet, but saying “I just posted a tweet” sounds awkward, so you really do have to take sides.

Has the AP settled the debate? Actually, no… They have also approved the use of “tweet” as a verb, leaving the word choice up to individual writers.

So which is it, to twitter or to tweet? The AP may not be taking sides, but Twitter co-founder Biz Stone did, in an interview with TV show The View, last month. According to Mr. Stone, “to Twitter” is the preferred nomenclature.

In addition to approving the use of “twitter” and “tweet,” the AP Stylebook also has its very own Twitter account. You can keep in touch with them by following @ AP Stylebook. However, they don’t take grammar questions through the Twitter account. If you have additional questions about how to write about Twitter’s products and services, you can use the “Ask the Editor” feature on the AP website.

By the way, a couple of weeks ago, we reported that the English language was about to acquire its one-millionth word, at least according to the publicity-hungry folks at the Global Language Monitor. Oddly enough, the one-millionth word was recently declared to be “Web 2.0.”

language-of-twitter

Twitter is Changing Language

One of the most intimidating parts of learning to use Twitter is the lingo. Confronted by words like “retweet,” “hashtag” and the “Twittersphere,” new users often find themselves wondering:

“What language are these people speaking?”

English, as it turns out – Twitter is just changing the way we speak it, adding new vocabulary words and even influencing the way people talk and write when they aren’t using the service. No less an authority than the Oxford Dictionary just added the words “Twittersphere” and “ZOMG” to the lexicon, according to Time Magazine.

Meanwhile, digital anthropologist Brian Solis observes that the popular social networking service  is also changing the way people communicate outside of Twitter, even offline:

“At some point, a chasm emerges between those who use Twitter and those who do not. In other channels where Twitter users and other non-users are connected, for example email or text messaging,  the culture of conversation becomes noticeably divergent. To begin with, Twitter users, like texters, are groomed to speak with brevity.”

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