Social networking: What's happening? 140 characters in three new languages
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Wednesday 08 August 2012
Twitter's global ambitions rely on it being available to as many people as possible and in each of their native languages.
This week, the little blue bird spread its wings wider, adding Basque, Czech and Greek to the list of more than 30 languages it now supports. This comes hot on the heels of Ukrainian and Catalan, both added in July.
Twitter was English-only for the first two years after its launch in 2006. In 2008, it added Japanese. In 2009 it rolled out in French, Italian, German and Spanish, the first four for any web product planning an incursion into Europe. In February 2011, the company launched the Twitter Translation Centre.
By crowdsourcing the assistance of willing, multilingual volunteers, it is able to launch in new languages more quickly. Last September, shortly after announcing it had reached 100m active users worldwide, Twitter added Chinese, Hindi, Filipino and Malay, making it more accessible to half a billion. In March 2012, for the first time, the service began supporting right-to-left languages: Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu. It now claims more than 13,000 volunteers are at work on behalf of the Translation Centre. Many come from countries where Twitter is blocked: they include a Saudi blogger, an Israeli teacher, Iranian IT workers, Lebanese teenagers and at least one BBC journalist.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Winter crisis in A&E: Hospitals declare 'black alerts' as admissions shatter records, but full stats still unpublished
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg
Unpaid make-up artists reveal the ugly side of Miss World
Google launches 'Contributor' payment service for ad-free internet browsing
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...
£37000 - £39000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: SQL Database Administrato...
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Expanding creative studio requi...