Twitter About To Roll Out Translation Of Tweets To Other Languages?

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Automatic language translators are taking your tweets to a global audience.

Twitter appears to be testing out a new feature that will allow you to automatically translate tweets into other languages.  It was only a month ago that Singularity Hub argued that automatic translation of tweets into other languages was an obvious feature whose time has come.  Now it appears that time may be very near indeed, as Appscout has just noticed an option to translate a Dutch tweet for the trending topic “bloodbuzz ohio” into other languages.  See the Appscout screenshot below:

Will Twitter Soon Translate Tweets Automatically Into Other Languages?

As you can see from the snapshot above, there is an option to display tweets based on language, and below that an option to have tweets translated into another language – in this case English.  The translations are provided by Google, whose language translation engine is regarded as perhaps the world’s best after a decade plus investment.  Google’s language translation has been making big waves recently with its incorporation into smart phone apps and the automatic conversion of speech to text captioning for all videos on Youtube.

Anyone who has used Google’s translation knows that it is far from perfect.  And yet one of the beauties of human reasoning is that we can gather most of what we need from a translation even when it is only marginally good.  Here at the Hub we see the emergence of quality language translation as a success for modern AI.  More importantly, it is a symbol of the gains that have been promised from the convergence of accelerating technologies.  The language barrier is slowly crumbling around us and our tweets, blogs, and our ideas are increasingly available to a global audience of more than 6 billion people.  So please bring on the automatic translations Twitter – their time has come!  Now who is ready for a tweetbomb?

Discussion — 10 Responses

  • Robert at myGengo March 26, 2010 on 9:34 am

    Could be a popular feature for twitter.

    We’re actually doing human translation of a few select celebrity twitter accounts already – http://mygengo.com/talk/blog/mygengos-translations

  • Robert at myGengo March 26, 2010 on 5:34 am

    Could be a popular feature for twitter.

    We’re actually doing human translation of a few select celebrity twitter accounts already – http://mygengo.com/talk/blog/mygengos-translations

  • SD March 26, 2010 on 12:17 pm

    This feature has existed for at least 6 months (likely longer). You’re probably seeing it for the first time because it doesn’t appear when all the tweets on a search page are in English.

  • SD March 26, 2010 on 8:17 am

    This feature has existed for at least 6 months (likely longer). You’re probably seeing it for the first time because it doesn’t appear when all the tweets on a search page are in English.

  • Keith Kleiner March 27, 2010 on 3:17 am

    Well that is embarrassing. Still it is an awesome feature

  • Keith Kleiner March 26, 2010 on 11:17 pm

    Well that is embarrassing. Still it is an awesome feature

  • Daniel March 28, 2010 on 12:11 am

    Interesting – and just shy of really useful.

    Which personally is good for me. Sodash (my company’s smart Twitter dashboard: http://sodash.com) offers tweet translation, also powered by Google. We’re going to make it two-way so you can actually talk to these foreigners ;)

    As you say, the translation isn’t perfect – but you can usually reassemble the sense. It works especially well for tweets, which often have a terse poetry to them that gets changed but not lost in translation.

  • Daniel March 27, 2010 on 8:11 pm

    Interesting – and just shy of really useful.

    Which personally is good for me. Sodash (my company’s smart Twitter dashboard: http://sodash.com) offers tweet translation, also powered by Google. We’re going to make it two-way so you can actually talk to these foreigners ;)

    As you say, the translation isn’t perfect – but you can usually reassemble the sense. It works especially well for tweets, which often have a terse poetry to them that gets changed but not lost in translation.

  • mike March 29, 2010 on 1:09 pm

    I’ve used another service to translate my tweets. It’s called Tomedes – http://www.tomdes.com . We have found that machine translation just is not good enough for a business like ours.

  • mike March 29, 2010 on 9:09 am

    I’ve used another service to translate my tweets. It’s called Tomedes – http://www.tomdes.com . We have found that machine translation just is not good enough for a business like ours.