Mike Isaac

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As Egypt Erupts in Political Tumult, Twitter Translates High-Profile Tweeters

hashtag_twitterIn an ongoing effort to make Twitter more readily accessible to the world, Twitter continued its experiments with tweet translation on Wednesday, giving people the ability to see some high-profile Egyptian Twitter users’ tweets translated into local languages.

The update is in lockstep with the tumult occurring in the Middle East, as the world watched Egypt’s military oust Mohammed Morsi from his elected position as President of the nation.

“As part of our experiment with Tweet text translation, we’ve enabled translation for some of the most-followed accounts in Egypt, so people around the world can better understand and keep up with what’s happening there,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement.

Many of the key players involved in the political struggle are tweeting in Arabic, obviously making it more difficult for non-natives and outside observers to follow the goings-on. On Tuesday, for example, Morsi himself issued defiant statements to his opposition in Arabic via Twitter.

The move is also a part of Twitter’s ongoing experimentation with translation of tweets in general. Earlier this week, Twitter began dabbling in providing a Bing-powered translation feature to some users, which displayed a tweet in its original language, while also presenting the translated text beneath it.

Twitter provided a full, curated list of the high-profile accounts being translated, found here.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work