IMUG – Understanding Multilingual Tweets

internationalThe most surprising for me was the fact that Twitter content is often translated by users (Twitter uses Bing machine translation to accomplish translation of tweets) – and the volume of translation requests was four times larger than anticipated.

People want to translate tweets…

Twitter will allow to use only 140 characters, but they can be in 140 languages.  Twitter is internationalized; Twitter interface is translated into multiple languages using crowdsourcing.  Set of core languages used for 99% of online communications is fully supported, some of the languages from the remaining 1% may or may not be supported.

Mixed-language tweets are also common (of course, immediately, I had to look for them in two languages I speak – mixed language tweets were not hard to find…  Titter determines language of the tweet by the most prevalent  language used in the message.


Some tags might be spelled identically in different languages – to determine the language of the tag, Twitter uses an algorithm, but it is not perfect.  Hashtags can use multiple languages within individual hashtag; they are not translated (hashtags are not sent to Bing machine translation).  Translation can take more space – for example, a 140 characters tweet in Chinese can become a couple of paragraphs of text in English.

Even if Twitter message has just 140 characters, this message has quite a few elements in general and many of these elements can be affected by language of the user.


Twitter is monitoring the network for any “tweeter storms,” which can happen during different events, including social revolutions.  Twitter makes sure that its infrastructure can support  increased activity.

I tried to analyse my own Twitter account with help of Fliplingo, and, surprisingly, found non-English followers.  Even if the percentage of international followers is small in my account, I did not expect to fine anybody at all.  My native language did not even make it into top 5!  Language mix is probably related more to topic than to the speaker (or the personal background of Twitter account holder 🙂 ).


googleGoogle hosted this lovely event, and it was my first opportunity to visit Google campus. I must admit I was very curious after years of reading books about Google history and numerous mentions in business books. My guess, every business book under the sun mentions google as an example – of something.

The food was excellent!  However, I must admit that all events I attended in the Bay Area during last three months provided wonderful food choices 🙂

Google lobby met us with sounds of live piano, and the conference room had chairs of different colors: blue, red and yellow.  I thought the sitting arrangement was intentionally “on-brand”  🙂

Tweet: Testing Click to Tweet – am I the only one who have not used it yet? 🙂


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