Twitter adds translation tool powered by Bing

Live translation has been tried before, but was pulled amid complaints from users that it was unreliable

Twitter will now give translations for tweets, using Bing’s computer translation tool.

Users are able to click on the small globe icon in foreign language tweets to have them translated, with the new version appearing below the original tweet.

The feature must be enabled in account settings. After that, it will be available for all users on twitter.com and TweetDeck, as well as Twitter’s official clients for iOS and Android.

The tool can translate over 40 language pairs, Twitter said.

The translation tool uses Bing’s software to provide the translations. Twitter warned that the translations “still vary and often fall below the accuracy and fluency of translations provided by a professional translator”, and said that it would continue to show the original tweet to help in case of problems with the wording.

Twitter has intermittently added translation to its service, rolling it out to mobile apps last year. But the feature disappeared shortly after as users complained that the translations offered were often unreliable.

The feature would often recognise tweets as being in languages that they weren’t — and would so offer translations of tweets in users’ first languages — as well as giving translations that weren’t always accurate.

It quietly re-emerged in TweetDeck a couple of weeks ago, and is now being rolled out to most of Twitter’s official apps.

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