For the longest time, it was a tad annoying for me to tweet a phrase in Kiswahili and Twitter suggested an Indonesian translation. Come on, in the whole wide world why Indonesian? Well, Twitter did not recognize any African lingo hence the translation but that has changed.
Swahili is the first African language to be recognized by Twitter and its translation enabled. Swahili is the most popular language in East Africa and some parts of Central Africa – it’s estimated to be spoken by over 50 million people.
Getting to this juncture was no easy ride. Kenyans on Twitter started a campaign via the #AfricanLanguageDay and #AfricanLanguagesMatter to bring the attention of seclusion. The hashtags spawned #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili and the tech giant had to succumb to the demands of Kenyans.
In the past, Twitter only supported 34 languages whereby none was African. We are yet to see Swahili placed on the language settings on Twitter but that’s on the way.
The move was welcomed by various organizations like the Ministry of Sports & Heritage who tweeted:
TWITTER RECOGNISES SWAHILI AS A LANGUAGE:
USA based social networking site Twitter recently added the capability to detect Swahili words in tweets & to translate them. Kiswahili which is widely used in East Africa, is Kenya's National language & it unites the people of Kenya. pic.twitter.com/TMzgWU1IXu
— Ministry of Sports and Heritage (@moscakenya) May 7, 2018
The language setting means that we can translate other languages into Swahili. Kenyans are always fighting with Nigerians and South Africans but sometimes the battle is lost in the language turn. This might be a great tool to win our Twitter battles.
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