Twitter Tests Automatic Translation for Tweets in a Different Language

twitterTwitter today announced it will begin testing a feature with a small group of users that automatically translates tweets that are in a language they may not be able to read.

Currently, users whose primary language is set to English in Twitter can tap or click a button to manually translate a tweet in their feed that's in another language.

Starting today, however, users in Brazil will see English-language tweets that have been automatically translated to Brazilian Portuguese, rather than having to manually opt to translate it themselves.

Twitter explained the pilot test in a blog post:

In order to make it easier to understand the conversations you follow on Twitter, we are experimenting automatic translations to Tweets in other languages that appear on your home page. We know that sometimes it can take a long time to translate Tweet by Tweet and stay on top of what is relevant to you.

Twitter says that one part of the testing group will see the translated text and can click to return it to the original language, while the other part will view the translation and the original text in the same tweet in a standard way. If a tweet is translated, it will be accompanied by the warning, "Translated from English by Google" or "Translated from English by Microsoft."

According to 9to5Mac, however, some Brazilian users have already voiced their frustration with the experimental feature because the automatic translations are enabled by default, and inevitably some machine translations aren't always accurate.

The test is only in Brazil and applies to a limited group of people on iOS and Android. It's unclear if or when it will expand to more countries – as with all experimental features, there's no guarantee that it will survive the testing phase.

Tag: Twitter

Top Rated Comments

jonnyb Avatar
25 months ago
People already understand Tweets in their own language so well. There are never any misunderstandings. This should go really well.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
25 months ago
Great Idea, tweets never use slang or idioms, what could possibly go wrong in a translation...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
[AUT] Thomas Avatar
25 months ago
To me it looks a lot like Twitter is really trying to ensure things escalate as quickly as possible...

IMHO: Twitter should be ignored by politicians and companies and not used by such (basically like TikTok that noone takes seriously). Twitter has only become an echo chamber for issues that fade away within hours (often includes the memory of the Twitter users apparently, long span of attention seems to be rare these days anyway). The plattform is technically incapable of providing a base for actual discussions as the amount of words is limited. So no argumentation is possible whatsoever. It's perfect though for posting stupid headlines without actually delivering on arguments, which is very welcome for the narrow minded (like the extreme left and extreme right) as well as complaining about something without giving the other side a real opportunity to actually argue their case. By now, I think Twitter is a burden to society more than it's helping.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
25 months ago
Thomas, post: 28764175, member: 1021539"]
To me it looks a lot like Twitter is really trying to ensure things escalate as quickly as possible...

IMHO: Twitter should be ignored by politicians and companies and not used by such (basically like TikTok that noone takes seriously). Twitter has only become an echo chamber for issues that fade away within hours (often includes the memory of the Twitter users apparently, long span of attention seems to be rare these days anyway). The plattform is technically incapable of providing a base for actual discussions as the amount of words is limited. So no argumentation is possible whatsoever. It's perfect though for posting stupid headlines without actually delivering on arguments, which is very welcome for the narrow minded (like the extreme left and extreme right) as well as complaining about something without giving the other side a real opportunity to actually argue their case. By now, I think Twitter is a burden to society more than it's helping.
While I fundamentally agree with your points, there are fundamental issues that must be overcome before such a thing could happen:

Politicians see Twitter as a way to reach their base directly and stir them up so they will vote for them. It is the modern version of the US' concept of the whistle stop, excpet the audience is much broader. It also lets them float an idea and see what the response is and adjuist or repeat the message as needed. In that case, short memories, and the ephemeral nature of Twitter, are to their advantage.

Companies are not interested in discussion. Twitter is just another way to get their brand name in front of people. They are not looking for long periodic engagements; they want a steady stream of hits even if they are only for a few seconds.

As long as these groups feel they get value from being on Twitter they will use it.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
25 months ago

People already understand Tweets in their own language so well. There are never any misunderstandings. This should go really well.
”My hovercraft is full of eels!”
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
25 months ago

”My hovercraft is full of eels!”
"Can you direct me to the station?"

Twitter could create a whole new form of comedy online...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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