Some Twitter users in Brazil may be viewing the timeline that’s purely in Brazilian Portuguese even if they’re following accounts that usually tweet in other languages. That’s because Twitter has begun its test for automatic translations in the area to make it easier to understand the conversation they follow. The company said that this new feature will be on by default for a limited number of users on both iOS and Andriod. Although Twitter still has a translation feature, users still have to click or tap a tweet to activate it.
The company has broken down the testers in two various groups likely in an effort to see which format would be better received. While one group oversees all tweets in their preferred language, and similar to Facebook’s automatic translations, users have to click on a tweet to see it in its main form, the other group will see both the original and the translated text in one tweet. The two groups will be aware they are looking at translations, though, because tweets will be marked with “Translated from [language] by Google” or “Translated from [language] by Microsoft.”
While Twitter says the feature can assist users to remain on top of what’s relevant, automatic translations can be wildly incorrect at times. Back in 2017, a Palestinian man was arrested after Facebook translated the caption he used for the display photo of him next to a bulldozer to hurt them. His caption actually said ‘Good Morning’. A couple of weeks ago, Facebook had to issue an apology after an English post by the Thai PBS network abut the King’s birthday appeared like an insult in the Thai translation.
It’s unclear if the experimental feature can be switched off in its current form, but users can convert their language preferences in settings. Twitter says that it can expand the feature’s availability to other users in Brazil and other countries, depending on how the test does.