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Twitter launches in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Urdu

Twitter now runs in four new right-to-left languages: Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu.

Twitter Arabic Farsi Hebrew UrduEnlarge
Twitter launched its Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu versions on March 6, 2012. (@Taghreedat/Screengrab)

Twitter has launched its service in four new languages: Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu.

It is the first time the micro-blogging site's interface has been available in right-to-left languages.

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According to Twitter's blog, some 13,000 volunteers helped with the translations, including linguistics specialists, bloggers, students and IT professionals from Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan, amongst others.

"Some of these volunteers live in regions where Twitter is officially blocked," the post said. "Their efforts speak volumes about the lengths people will go to make Twitter accessible and understandable for their communities."

The BBC cited the examples of Iran, which blocked Twitter ahead of 2009 elections, and Egypt, where authorities attempted to stop demonstrators communicating about protests in 2011. 

The campaign for a version of Twitter in Arabic has been steadily gathering steam under the hashtag #letstweetinarabic

In a post on Digital Qatar last year, blogger Mina Nagy argued that a localized version of the service would encourage more Arabic speakers to tweet, make content easier to search and, via hashtags, facilitate conversations. 

"With Arabic hashtags being activated and supported on Twitter, this increases chances that they could make it to the top trending topics as long as there are sufficient conversations around them," Nagy wrote. "This allows not just for better visibility for Arabic e-content, but also grows global conversations around those topics for all Arabic speaking people around the world who, yes, are not just located in the Middle East."

Some of the co-founders of the campaign assisted with the translation, Twitter said. One tweeted:

Twitter is now available in 28 languages worldwide.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/technology-news/120307/twitter-launches-arabic-farsi-hebrew-urdu