The World Cup is underway in Brazil, and not only will athletes from a multitude of countries be vying for the grand crown of international football, they and their fans will be struggling to understand their spoken and written languages.
Just in time for this mixer of countries, CNet reported last week that Twitter will begin using Microsoft's Bing translation service in its iOS app that users can install on their iPhones and iPads. The app is now able to show translated versions of tweets below their originals. If they choose to allow the app to translate, users who tap on an individual tweet can see it matched up exactly with a tweet translated to any language they choose.
This has immediate ramifications for the World Cup because it is one of the world's largest international gatherings. However, translations can also make it easier for Twitter users to follow other individuals' coverage related to conflicts in their home countries. CNet notes that users can now more easily follow, for example, “political protests in Turkey, elections in Europe, and civil war in Syria.”
With respect to the translation functionality, the Twitter.com Web interface reportedly acts somewhat differently than the app, and the Web side of things could preview what the app will become. Although users of the mobile app must now click on individual tweets to see them translated, Web users can see translations expanded throughout their timelines without additional, individual clicks.
By including Bing translation in its mobile app, this addition of services could allow Twitter to further expand in areas of the globe where it does not conduct a strong presence. If it desires to become a global enterprise, it will do well to bring countries and peoples together, and effective translation can help facilitate that goal. Translation at the World Cup is just the beginning; for more serious worldwide events, translation could allow a major barrier—language—between all people to fall by the wayside.
Edited by Maurice Nagle