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Twitter includes Catalan among its official languages

The world’s most popular short-message network has included Catalan as one of its 28 official languages. Twitter has opened a Catalan ‘translation centre’ to adapt its content. In the first 24h, more people had registered voluntarily than the number of those who did it within the 6 months after the Finnish version was released. Twitter’s CEO had already announced at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, which is held every year in Barcelona, that the company would do it, but he did not specify a date. Wikipedia opened its Catalan version 11 years ago and Youtube incorporated Catalan in early 2011. Catalan is is the world’s 8th language with the most blogs, the 13th most used language in Wikipedia, and the 14th search language in Google.

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19 May 2012 01:45 AM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Twitter has started the process to translate the social network into Catalan. This means that Catalan will be among the 28 official languages the world\u2019s most popular short-message network uses. Twitter\u2019s CEO, Dick Costolo, had already announced the company\u2019s intentions at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, which is held every year in Barcelona. However, he did not confirm any date. 15 months later, the company has finally made the step, following popular demand, supported among many other organisations by FC Barcelona. The Catalan club is the sports club with most Twitter followers in the world, and Barça\u2019s Catalan account is followed by 1.7 million people. Twitter announced the news on Wednesday evening and the number of people registering, in the first 24 hours, as volunteers to participate in the translation process is higher than those who did for the Finnish version in six months. This confirms once again that Catalan is very dynamic and significantly present on the Internet. It also shows the demand of many Catalan speakers to have their native language recognised. For instance, despite being the 9th language within the EU in number of speakers, Catalan is not an EU official language. According to the latest studies, published in late 2011, Catalan is regularly used by 10 million people, which represents 70% of the population in an area of 13.6 million where the language is spoken.


The Catalan translation of Twitter will take place through a participation process. This means that the users will be in charge of adapting Twitter\u2019s content. After accepting some conditions, the volunteer has access to a glossary, where he or she can translate the sentences and expressions the social network uses. For instance he or she might choose how to translate \u201Cretweeted\u201D, choosing from options proposed by previous users or proposing a new word. The same process was made with Facebook. In fact the world\u2019s main Internet platforms and sites are already translated into Catalan. For instance, Wikipedia opened its Catalan version 11 years ago and Youtube incorporated Catalan in early 2011.

Catalan is the world\u2019s 8th language with the most blogs on the Internet

Catalan is very dynamic and significantly present on the Internet. It is the world\u2019s 8th language with the most blogs and it is also the 14th search language on Google. In addition, it is the 13th most used language on Wikipedia, before languages such as Norwegian. With data from 2010, Catalan had an article growth rate on Wikipedia higher than Mandarin.

Twitter said it had choose Catalan because since it started its \u201Ctranslation centre\u201D it has received thousands of petitions for Catalan translations. In fact, the six languages with most petitions were Catalan, Afrikaans, Ukrainian, Greek, Czech, and Basque. For this reason, Twitter decided to open the translation service to these languages. Currently Twitter is available in 28 languages and half a million people have already participated, as volunteers, in the translation processes.

A demand since 2009

This announcement marks the end of a long process. The Catalan Internet community has been asking for Twitter\u2019s translation since 2009. The journalist Albert Cuesta was the main person behind the platform #twitterencatalan (#twitterincatalan). Cuesta showed his satisfaction with the decision, although he cannot participate in the Catalan translation because he had already participated in the Spanish one.

On September 17th a massive tweet took place using the hashtag #twitterencatala, to ask for the Catalan translation. The hashtag became a trending topic in Spain and one of the most used in Europe that day. It coincided with Twitter\u2019s adaptation to simplified Chinese, Hindi, Tagalong, and Malaysian. In addition, the company explained it would also include in the near future six other languages: Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish and Hungarian. 

Twitter thanks FC Barcelona for its involvement in the Catalan translation

Many private individuals have supported the demand, but also organisations. The most famous being FC Barcelona, whose football team is considered to be the best in the world. In fact, the Catalan club is the sports club with most Twitter followers in the world, with more than 9 million followers of its official accounts. One of them is Barça\u2019s Catalan account, which is followed by 1.7 million people. The social network has issued a message thanking Barça for its implication in Twitter\u2019s Catalan translation. \u201CWe are very pleased with the support of entities such as FC Barcelona\u201D, said Twitter\u2019s official account.

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  • Twitter's translation centre (by Twitter / ACN)

  • Twitter's translation centre (by Twitter / ACN)