Most African languages for the past decade and over of Twitter’s existence have been referred to as Indonesian. That has changed with Twitter’s official recognition of Swahili as a language.
The network now offers a translation of the widely spoken and written East and Southern African language.
Since last week, Twitter kickstarted detection of the language in tweets and subsequently offers a close to perfect translation as with other foreign languages.
Kenya Ministry of Sports and Heritage joined Twitter users to celebrate the feat. It, however, did not come easy as Kenyans – known to be vibrant on the platform staged protests with the hashtags #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili.
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
But like all google translate efforts, some translations have fallen short of the import of what is meant. But for all it is worth, it positions Swahili as a fore runner in the area.
The language is spoken by over 50 million people and it serves as the national language of four East African nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and DR Congo.
We made noise, a lot of noise;
Regarding #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili
We take this earliest opportunity to say thank you to @Twitter for listening.
Thank you for recognizing Swahili – #KiswahiliKitukuzwe @Swahilihub @Taifa_Leo pic.twitter.com/ji8uc357z6
— Brand Kenya Board (@MakeItKenya) May 3, 2018
Dear Mother Africa (Kenya and Tanzania in particular), your prayers to have Twitter translate Kiswahili properly have been answered. I'd say this is pretty decent from @Microsoft #swahili #Translation #twitter pic.twitter.com/KuFUimPd91
— The Primary Asset (@HOVELyZZ) May 2, 2018
— ABF (@AfricaFellows) August 3, 2016