4 Ways B2B Companies Can Translate Tweets

Twitter is a global platform with more than 60% of users outside the United States and one way B2B companies can grow their business is to monitor and engage with customers and prospects in other languages. In some instances that means reading and writing tweets in languages that you do not understand. There are a variety of tools that embed translation into their interface, and here are some of the most popular.

Lots of people use this desktop client to manage their Twitter experience, but many don’t know about the built in language support in Tweetdeck. Start by going to Settings > Services and choose your primary language. Tweets in other languages will be translated into this language when you choose to translate them. Note that all translation is powered by Google and these machine translations frequently miss the subtleties of language, especially in social media.

When you see a tweet that is not in your primary language, move your cursor over the profile picture to bring up the menu of other actions you can take on an individual tweet. Choose translate. You can also choose untranslate to switch the tweet back to its original language.

Tweetdeck also helps you translate your tweets into any Google Translate supported language. After writing your tweet, click the translate this update button and choose the language you wish. Click send to post your translated tweet.

Hootsuite iPhone app
If you are looking for quick way to translate incoming tweets to your native language while on the go, the HootSuite iPhone app includes one button translation while reading any tweet. There are actually two buttons. One translates to the primary language that you set for the app, while the other translates to English.

Another tool that has built in translation is Twaitter. This web-based tool is designed around scheduling your Twitter updates, but it also has Google Translate services embedded into it. After typing an update, click translate, choose a language and Twaitter translates. Send or schedule the update.

And finally, yesterday, Tweetmeme announced translation support for their popular retweet button (used here on SocialMediaB2B.com). They too have incorporated Google Translate tools, which can automatically detect, and suggest, translation into your native language. It is easy to undo if you don’t like the translation. If you tweet in a language other than English, we would love for you to tweet this post in your language using the Tweetmeme button and let us know how it works.

Are there other translation tools that allow you to connect your B2B company to people who do not speak your language? Let us know below in the comments.


  1. says

    I have used Tweetdeck to translate tweets from other languages into English.My team in Japan tweets daily and I like to know what they are talking about.Here’s an example from JPN to EN “I asked the office of the world examples of localization in the mail came just one day almost 20! Colleagues around the world, thank you!” This is definitely understandable and we get the gist.The problem I have encountered is translating a tweet I’ve created in English into another langauge. That’s a problem. I was told one I sent is Polish was not understandable at all. My point, using Google Translate to understand what other are saying in the twitterverse is beneficial -but using it to tweet back is risky.For more of my thoughts about multilingual social media read my recent post http://bit.ly/AriMLblog

  2. says


    Very true on the fact that companies should emphasize on their international outreach on languages, but I cannot stress enough, the value of knowing languages or having someone on hand who speaks the language of where you market.
    So many small mistakes can be made by using automatic translators and can lead to critical errors, or worse, poor misinterpretation.
    Always, always, read the translation, or translate the message back into English, does it still make sense?

  3. says

    Thanks for the comments. I agree that translating incoming tweets in more beneficial that posting tweets in a language other than your own. Thanks for the link to your post.

    Thanks. Automatic translators can be problematic, but it may be a good way to get started expanding global reach before you are able to bring on someone with language experience.

  4. says

    Do these softwares translate the meaning of the original tweets or do you have to edit for it to have the same meaning of the original tweet? I’m asking this question because software translation tools do not really give me good results.

  5. says

    Jeffrey, great post! Machine translation is definitely helpful. However Kathleen brings up a good point…it’s much harder relying solely on machines when sending a message. That’s one of the reasons we’re seeing a growing uptake in human translation…especially among individual users/brands actively posting messages aimed at a large, multilingual audience.

    Take a look at the crowdsourced human translation capabilities of SpeakLike.com. Some of the tools include human Twitter translation, WordPress Plug-in, an easy to integrate human translation API, and of course email/chat/text translation. http://www.speaklike.com/products/

    Our goal is to see human translation offered side by side with machine translation, giving users an option to decide based on their needs.

  6. says

    I was just looking up articles about translation and social media when I found your post – good tips. I do social media at Amdocs, and I generally just use the translate button directly from Google Chrome to translate a Twitter user’s page. Interesting that these tools already have this functionality integrated, and my guess is that we’ll be seeing more and more of that.

  7. says

    With Google moving the API to pay only it will be interesting to see how these platforms continue to support this functionality for translation as it could get very expensive!

  8. says

    I know this is a little old post already, but you should check Transfluent as a solution to the quality of posting in a foreign language. Rather than machine translation, it offers professionally translated tweeting in multiple languages and works from Tweetdeck or any other posting platform (as a disclaimer, I am founder of Transfluent, but I think what we offer is really relevant to the article’s topic!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *