But as Twitter grows in popularity in remote corners of the world, so will the use of other languages on it.
Twitter itself says on its blog that 60% of registered Twitter accounts come from outside the US. Twitter itself speaks six languages. But the world speaks so many more. Add to the mix, the increasing mating between cell phones and Twitter apps and very soon multilingual tweets will be flying about from one corner of the world to the other.
Tweets may be 140 characters long but the real time information they bring is sometimes deeper in impact. It would be a pity to miss out on a good tweet just because you weren’t born a linguist. Thanks to a few Twitter translation tools, you don’t need to take language courses.
Here’s a look at five of these online Twitter translation tools. Most of the Tweet translation services are mashups of Google Translate. Ultimately, the only thing that sets them apart from each other is the way they take in your tweet and tweet out the result.
Twanslate is an experimental Firefox add-on that adds a feature to translate an incoming tweet into English. Using Google’s Translate service, the add-on functions as a simple button (a little globe icon) below any tweet that’s in another language. You can then click it and convert the tweet into English. The add-on works in your Twitter stream as well as an individual user’s public tweets page.
Twieee is a Twitter translation tool that gives you eight languages to tweet in – Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese. And English of course. You can pick a language from the homepage and log in with your Twitter credentials. Your Twitter stream is displayed in the original language and the one you opted for. Using the language choice dropdown, you can also enter a tweet and directly submit it as a translated one.
The service is in beta. A few page errors that crop up while submitting and the absence of a How-to on the way the web app works are two early minuses for Twieee right now. Twieee also uses Google Translate.
Twinslator lets you type in your tweet and sent as a translated text in any of the languages in the dropdown. You can choose to send only the translated tweet or both the original as well as the translated one (Twins your Tweets). From the dropdown, it gives you 42 languages to choose from.
Tweetrans detects the original language and gives you the option to tweet it in over 40 languages. You do not have to depend on Tweetrans as you can use your own Twitter client and the @tweetrans Twitter name with the translate language code. For example, @tweetrans 2fr your message here is the standard format. 2fr is the language code for French. Tweetrans detects your original language (say, English) and translates it on the fly to French. The other language codes are given on the site.
Also, using the format (for example) – en2fr, you can give both languages in a language pair (i.e., translate from and translate to language). You will receive a @Reply with the translation in the specified language within 60 seconds.
Okay, this one is actually not a serious Twitter “˜translation’ tool. Twenglish is for those who like to tweet like Twirds. Twirds is “˜Twitterspeak’ and a language of its own and if you are going to be a Twitter nerd, it’s what you will talk in. You will get the purpose of this Twitter fun tool from the screenshot. I hope you get why it’s a “twool that lets you tweet like a twird”.
And if you are a Star Trek fan, try out the Tweet in Klingon if you want to avoid doublespeak and keep peace in the Federation.
These services give you the help to not only understand someone’s natural language, but also create a bit of impact in 140 characters or less by tweeting in theirs. That’s a small step towards living amicably in a global village – one tweet at a time.
Tweet in and let us know if you find these Twitter language services helpful. And maybe you know a few other similar services that we missed?