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Twitter is now available in four new languages: Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu. These are the first right-to-left languages to be made available on the social network.
The languages were added to the Twitter translation centre just over a month ago. The social network claims that some 13 000 volunteers then came together “translating and localising Twitter.com into these languages in record time”.
At least three of these languages are spoken across the Middle East, where Twitter was frequently used as a means of spreading the message of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions. Arabic is also one of the fastest growing languages on Twitter.
Twitter claims that the translation team was diverse, and included “a Saudi blogger, Egyptian college students, a journalist at the BBC, IT professionals in Iran and Pakistan, an Israeli schoolteacher, the co-founders of the grassroots #LetsTweetInArabic campaign, academics specializing in linguistics, and teenagers in Lebanon”.
Some of the volunteers, it claims, live in regions where Twitter is actively blocked.
Twitter says that making tweets available in right-to-left languages “posed a unique technical challenge, particularly with Tweets containing both right-to-left and left-to-right content”.
To get around this, it says its engineers “built a new set of special tools to ensure these Tweets, hashtags and numbers all look and behave correctly”.