Communication is an important tool in the modern world, especially the social communication aspect. Making the web adaptable to many language groups and nations is the next step towards connecting people all over the world. Twitter and Google+ are already used in English and the language is also the de facto language of communication over the Internet. Adding local language support will help more people who do not use English as their first language to use the services without being alienated.
Twitter announced on that they have released support for Arabian and middle-eastern languages on its official blog. The new languages the service is offering are Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu. Urdu is quite relevant to India and this is a good step ahead. It took some 13,000 volunteers to translate all the relevant features and options on the site including the support pages in the 4 languages. This crow-sourced effort should definitely be congratulated for making Twitter and free communication available to all those who don’t feel comfortable tweeting in English. The interesting part about this effort was that some of the volunteers were from countries where Twitter is officially blocked. Twitter is said to have a played a key role in last year’s uprisings and revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
Adapting Twitter for the use of right-to-left content was quite a challenge for the company’s engineers but they have managed to do a good job at it. They will be adding more improvements over time. Twitter is now available in 28 languages worldwide and are ramping up to increase support for even more languages.
Google+ also did a similar thing on the same day as Twitter by adding support for 9 Indic languages like Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. They announced this via a Google+ post. So now Google Plus is available in 60 languages totally after the addition of support for 16 new languages. There have been repeated analyses about the drop of visitors/users on Google+. This localization may help them to generate better numbers and engagement on the platform.
Have you tried using both these services in these newly supported languages? Share with us your experiences.