Twitter Officially Rolls Out Bing Translation
Tweets in users' non-native languages will automatically trigger translations. After being reintroduced on TweetDeck earlier this month, the feature has been added to iOS, Android and Twitter.com. Windows Phone users have had it since 2013.
Twitter has taken the wraps off its long-running experiment with Bing Translator, announcing today that it will now offer translations of tweets in multiple languages.
The feature has been activated for the desktop platform and iOS and Android devices. It also remains active on the Windows Phone app.
Tweets that aren’t in users’ native languages display with a globe in the upper right-hand corner of the tweet. Clicking or tapping on the globe actives the translator, which works for more than 40 languages. (Just apparently not Klingon. The Star Trek language is supported by Bing, but didn’t work for our test today on Twitter.)
Earlier this month, we reported that Twitter had added the feature to TweetDeck. The company has been experimenting with language translation since February 2012.
The move fits in well with Twitter’s oft-stated goal to be the world’s public square. Bing translations aren’t perfect, but they can be a decent rough estimate of meaning. Twitter notes on the support page for the feature that “the results still vary and often fall below the accuracy and fluency of translations provided by a professional translator. For this reason, the original text is always displayed above its translation.”
Postscript: This story has been updated to note that Twitter’s association with Bing Translate never faltered on one platform, Windows Phone. Appropriately, the Microsoft device’s Twitter app has had the feature since June of 2013, as Daniel Rubino, editor in chief of Windows Central, pointed out to me on Twitter. Also, I’ve corrected an error in the post. I wrote earlier that Twitter had been testing Bing Translation since July 2013, rather than the correct February 2012.