CA overlooked again as Twitter crowdsources translation

Twitter has opened up its code for translation into more than 50 languages. This is a great opportunity for users all over the world to contribute to and adopt the platform in their own language.  Yet one region, as seems to be a growing trend, seems noticeably absent.

Twitter users who want to see the world’s most popular micro blogging platform in their local language can go to this translation page, log in with Twitter, accept the agreement and choose a language to get started translating. If the language is not available – it can request it here.

Twitter is doing what Skype and WordPress did not too long ago by opening its language code to the volunteering translators after they realized it would be too time consuming to find, hire, control and certify a translation done by some hired professional. At the end of the day, there are not so many people who would be able to tell whether a particular Welsh translation, for instance, was done professionally or by a team of crowd-sourced volunteers. Also, Wikipedia proved that large groups of people are able to produce more or less accurate pieces of knowledge as they review and improve each other’s work.

Belarusian and Ukrainian are present in the list of 52 emerging translations.  However, none of the CA languages is present there.  Here, I see a good opportunity for activists from the five Central Asian countries to popularize their languages through establishing teams that would request Twitter to open up translation threads into Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Kazakh, Tajik, and Turkmen; as long as the number of requests is large enough to move Twitter do open those threads.

Again, the post title refers to the absence of any single Central Asia language in the Google Translate service, Gmail, and until recently – in Skype. I have the impression that whenever a new translation facility is launched, Central Asia will be overlooked.  This happens to the languages which are not widely spoken.  It’s possible that someone in Google believes Russian takes it all. Not any longer; nor has English taken anything, yet.

It is time for the five forgotten languages to step forward.

About the Author

Alaksiej Lavoncyk

Alaksiej Lavonczyk is a media activist and social media expert from Minsk, Belarus. He had been in charge of the training projects for the NGOs and media on building their capacity in online campaigning and end-user security. Alaksiej had also acted as a consulting and technical expert for NGOs and media in Belarus and four countries of Central Asia (except Turkmenistan) on upgrading media/NGO websites to meet contemporary standards, and on their promotion online. Alaksiej is also running an online training centre for the Central Asians preparing the specialists in SMO promotion.
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