twitter-bird-white-on-blueTwitter has quietly stopped offering users the ability to instantly translate tweets using Bing’s machine translation feature, slightly more than a year after the company started using Microsoft’s technology.

Users began noticing the feature’s absence earlier this week, though Twitter hasn’t said exactly when it stopped offering the service, or why. But one thing is clear: people who want to get tweets translated from a foreign language will have to copy and paste them into a translation service of choice, rather than clicking a button on Twitter’s website.

It’s not clear how much of a problem this will prove to be for the majority of Twitter’s users. Like the other machine translation services out there, Bing Translator usually provides translations that tend to range from slightly flawed to incomprehensible. While it’s clear that some users are missing the translation capabilities, there certainly hasn’t been a massive outcry from around the web.

It’s an interesting move by Twitter, especially considering that Yelp just added Bing Translate functionality to its iPhone app in order to provide translations of reviews that are written in other languages. It’s also entirely possible that Twitter decided to drop Microsoft’s translation program in favor of an in-house solution, or some other vendor’s translation product in the future.

For right now, though, one thing is clear: tweets will go un-translated until further notice.

A representative for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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  • Alisa4Rain

    I used this feature a LOT since I follow a South Korean celebrity and read tweets in many languages from his fans all over the world. It’s a bit annoying Twitter did this. But yeah I’m back to copying and pasting into Bing’s translator. Hope Twitter has a future solution.

    • 화셍은

      I used it lot for the the same reason as well. It’s frustrating because I follow a lot of people that only tweet in Korean :(
      Copy and pasting on my phone for every other tweet is annoying.

  • muramurr

    bing is a total shit

    • Heewack

      Oh, right – and all the others are SOOO much better. Sure.
      As much as we rely on G*gle and B*ng and all them crooked vultures, they get MUCH more back from us in return.
      None of them are that great. That goes double for machine translation which mostly SUCKS.

      • muramurr

        “None of them are that great”

        Agreed! though the Google is slightly better. But anyway the only way to understand another language properly is to learn it from beginning to end

  • Manuel Herranz Pérez

    It makes sense to large for large corporations managing big data to own their proprietary machine translation technology. Ebay’s acquisition of Apptek made sense as Ebay does not want to rely on 3rd parties in international business. Samsung financed the acquisition of Systran, the biggest machine translation company in the world. Facebook uses bing but also acquired a machine translation start-up. Languages and multilingual data means business. My guess is that companies like other machine translation companies like may be in someone’s shopping list.

  • manonyme

    I too, used this feature quite a bit…but with regard to your comment about an in-house option. I’m working my way to certification w/Twitter translation. there’s a small army of us doing various tasks. But there’s been no word about any upcoming changes. . .
    And there was prolly no outcry from the part of the web that resides here in the States. With the exception of my sister, Americans are averse to foreign language…i mean, duh – it’s foreign! lol But I’m sure something willl be done soon bc that is a main feature – the site’s ability to convey those major worldwide trending topics.

  • wayneroyce

    Not having instant translations is more than a bit irritating. It blocks the world from communicating with each other.

    Twitter is opening it’s self up to loss, just as soon as another company facilitates maximum freedom of communications, by having translations as a permanent choice.

    Then that market segment will migrate away, in flocks, from Twitter to their competitor.
    Twitter could end up looking like a bunch of twits, so I hope they change it soon.

  • deejster

    Transfluent let’s you translate Tweets (via a real human translator $0.06/word), within minutes:

  • Peter Dennis

    I liked this feature. Several of the people i follow (one of them is actually following me right now) are in a french canadian pop punk band and they sometimes tweet in french as well as english. I used to easily be able to translate their french tweets.

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