The Twitter Translation Center, which is Twitter's crowd source means of making the microblog available in various languages, has added support for languages read and written in right to left. According to a blog post by Twitter, the first four languages that will be worked with are Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu. Twitter is already available in 22 languages, however, all of them are read and written in left to right format. The languages are Traditional Chinese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Italian, Filipino, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish, Danish, Malay, English, French, Korean, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, German, Russian and Dutch. Support for these languages has been accomplished by the Twitter Translation Center which employs 4,25,000 volunteers all over the world.
More language support equals greater flocks
Twitter says that part of the process of support for right to left formatted languages is adding hashtag support. They also say that they've added features that will give right to left formatted language users a localized user experience, however they have not been specific about what these features will be. Crowd sourcing language support, particularly for right to left formatted languages potentially makes for more accuracy as many self programmed services still have bugs and glitches in their right to left language support.
Given that Twitter was highly instrumental in the Arab Spring, in countries like Syria, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, adding right to left language support almost seems crucial. Twitter users in those countries could still tweet in their native languages just by typing in those languages, however, they had to interact with Twitter in a language other than their own. And of course, hashtags weren't supported. Twitter says that as soon as their volunteers have finished their translation work, support for these four new languages will be made available in the spring of this year.