As of yesterday (Wednesday), Twitter has begun the work of providing an Arabic-language version of its popular website. The translation is part of a larger initiative to correctly format the website for right-to-left languages. Arabic Twitter should be available by the spring of this year.
The task of translating Twitter began with a group of thousands of volunteers calling themselves Taghreedat. The mission then transferred over yesterday to Twitter’s own translation center, which consists of 425,000 volunteers. Their primary job is to create appropriate translations for all terms used on Twitter. Once the latest round of language translations is complete, Twitter will have 22 languages. It is currently working to bring that total up to 27.
As for the technological aspects of the translation, those are being handled by the company’s programmers. “As we prepare to add Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, and Urdu to Twitter, we’ve developed new ways to ensure that Tweets and hashtags will work properly in right-to left languages,” the company said. “We’ve also made changes behind the scenes to give right-to-left language speakers a localized user experience.”
Despite representing only one percent of Twitter traffic, Arabic has been one of the fastest growing languages used on the website during 2011. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal recently invested $300 million in the social media company.