Twitter has enabled an automatic translation feature that allows English-speaking users to read the tweets of high-profile Egyptian Twitter users during the country’s high-profile time of political unrest, the company told us.
While translation on the web through features like Google Translate are nothing new, the native translate button added to tweets makes it easier to read them in English right away (tweets from certain users will show a “translate now” button below the text). And by enabling the feature on high-profile accounts during an international news event, it shows that Twitter is committed to being the platform where breaking news happens — and where people around the world can follow along.
In a statement, Twitter explained the idea behind the feature:
“As part of our experiment with Tweet text translation, we’ve enabled translation for some of the most-followed accounts in Egypt, so people around the world can better understand and keep up with what’s happening there.”
The translation feature is powered by Bing, which just this week we wrote is stepping up its translation services and working with companies on the service. Twitter hasn’t always been quick to add user-requested features (just anyone who’s been requesting a correction feature on the service), but CEO Dick Costolo said recently that Twitter is quickly understanding the role it plays in global news, so it makes sense that a translation feature is one step in that direction.
A Twitter list provides all of the accounts for which the company has enabled translation.