Twitter's FIGS Speaks In Tongues

Hablo Espanol? Parlez-vous Francais? Spriten Ze Deutsche?  "Gazouiller" and "Cinguettare" translates to "Twitter" in French and Italian. But how do you translate English into other languages on the microblogging site?

On October 8, Twitter which is currently only available in English and Japanese will soon be rolling out support for French, Italian, German and Spanish; i.e. FIGS. Similar to a move made by Facebook last year,Twitter is conducting a casting call for translator volunteers.

Crowdsourcing translations allows Twitter users to get into the act. Members will use the following tool to submit their translation ideas so that Twitter's developers can review the input before making them a reality.

Twitter's translation toolTwitter's translation tool

Twitter languagesTwitter languagesAccording to Twitter's blog post, they are inviting a small group of people to become volunteer translators at the onset. Then "as more folks volunteer, the translation suggestions should accumulate faster and we'll have enough material to respond by making Twitter available not only in English and Japanese but also French, Italian, German, and Spanish."

The blog also issued an apology: "If yours isn't one of the six languages we're going to be available in soon, we thank you for bearing with us—we'll get there as soon as we can."

While Twitter does well in English speaking countries, it has had difficulty scaling in countries where heretofore translations did not exist. Adding a translation feature should stimulate a major growth spurt in the next few months as Twitter's FIG campaign becomes fully engaged.

Twitter geographic coverage worldwideTwitter geographic coverage worldwide
Oct 9, 2009
by Anonymous

Twitter's Global Strategy

Great to see Twitter is becoming more aggressive in expanding globally. Should be clarified that this feature will help twitter specifically localize their UI (eg.-menu items, field names, site copy). The real benefit in going global occurs when all of your content (eg. - user generated data, articles, etc) can be translated automatically to attract global visitors.

I decided to do this automatically with my website fairly recently. I was able to not only translate my domestic content automatically for visitors, but my content was automatically indexed and page ranked in search engines greatly boosting my original global traffic (e.g.- page views) by several times.

There are different tools that accomplish this, some better than others (I have personally found success with Nonetheless, nice to see more attention being placed on this important topic.