Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Translating Twitter and Catalonia's March for Independence

Update: Twitter has reinstated my account, saying that translating tweets is not a violation of their TOS. Thanks to all who helped!

TweetToday, hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people are marching on Barcelona to demand Independence from Spain and a new Independent State in Europe. And they're all tweeting about it, using #11s2012 and sometimes #FreedomForCatalonia.

The thing is, they're mostly tweeting in Catalan. And since this a huge issue that affects all of Europe and perhaps the world, I thought it would be helpful to translate as many of those tweets as I can into English.

Not wanting to bombard my kind and comprehensive loyal followers of my regular Twitter, who mostly are interested in my tweets about EPUB, I created a new account, @11s2012EN, and I carefully added my image and information so that it was not anonymous.

I then searched for the hashtag #11s2012 in tweets that did not contain #en. There are thousands! And I've been translating them as quickly, neutrally, and faithfully as I can. I change the RT to MT to indicate that I have "modified" the tweet (by translating it into English). Sometimes I have had to abbreviate, or remove extra hashtags in order to make everything fit, but I try to keep it as close to the original as possible.

So this:

Catalan Tweet

became this (which I can't show on Twitter, because they've suspended the account):

Translated tweet

In fact, many of the people whose tweets I've translated have then retweeted the translation, themselves.

But Twitter thinks I'm spamming by sending @ replies to people I don't know. They don't realize that I'm translating. And they've suspended my account.

So, Twitter, can you clarify? Is translating others' tweets really spam? What if they don't mind? What if they *want* me to do it? Is there another way you'd prefer I do it? Automated translation just doesn't cut it.

This is a multilingual world, and some of us who know more languages can help the rest of us who don't. You should be facilitating communication, not hindering it.

Please restore my account so that I can help people understand what is going on in Catalonia today. It is truly monumental.

And if you'd like info on today's march, try:

The Guardian: Barcelona braces for million-strong march for Catalan independence

Wikipedia: 2012 Catalan March for Independence

Help Catalonia

Or at http://www.11s2012.cat/global, where we're collecting all tweets with #11s2012 and #en in them. (I think this use of two hashtags is pretty revolutionary in itself!)

Or follow my regular account on Twitter, I try to keep the Catalan stuff to a minimum, but I'm not very good at it :)

1 comment:

  1. Twitter shouldn't censor you, but there is 0 (ZERO) need for Catalonian independence!


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