Vancouver-based Hootsuite is makes one of the best (if not the best) web-based Twitter clients out there. It has multiple columns, the ow.ly URL shortener, multiple accounts, group account management, social media integration…and a lot more. That doesn’t go far enough in a the Internet today. A huge percentage of people online don’t speak English and really appreciate when apps are in their own language. Hootsuite is already a huge hit in Japan and elsewhere, but they want to branch out. Hootsuite wants to be localized in as many languages as possible, and they are asking for your help to do this. Yep, Hootsuite is turning to crowd-sourced translation.
Hootsuite is turning to its users, just like open-source projects like WordPress do when they need translation help, for their help in translating all the parts of Hootsuite so people around the world can feel the warmth of the owl’s feathery hug. The folks at Hootsuite are even going a set further by letting the community decide which languages get priority for development and launch. Sure here in Canada, English and French are common, but maybe Chinese or German or Dutch or Russian might be better and more popular choices from the community. You just don’t know until you ask and since Hootsuite is all about community (I’ve been a user since the early beta days and know the folks there well), they are asking.
If you’re interested in helping out, you start at the special Hootsuite Translation site and register. If you have more time on your hands, and are fluent in several languages, you can even apply to be a translation coordinator to give the thumbs up or down to how parts are translated.
You might be wondering if crowd-sourcing translation is a good idea. Well, it works pretty well in the WordPress community (I’ve lost count of all the localizations). Also, small startups can’t afford to have apps translated beyond a core of their user base (if at all). Frankly, I think the fact that Hootsuite is available in English and Japanese is pretty amazing. Translation is a tricky and expensive proposition, so my hat is off to my friends at Hootsuite for taking a big, bold step towards making Twitter a little more inclusive for everyone.