Twitter gears up to roll out Arabic version

Micro-blogging site to launch Arabic version that operates from right to left
Twitter plans to allow Arabic users to write tweets from right to left.
Twitter plans to allow Arabic users to write tweets from right to left.

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Arabic Twitter users will be able to tweet from right to left in their own language within weeks after the social network unveiled plans to introduce four new languages for users.

The micro-blogging site said it is set to add support for a number of languages read and written from right to left, including Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu.

“More than 425,000 volunteers contribute to the translation center,” the company said. “We’ll make Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu available for everyone on Twitter.com later this spring.”

Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character messages, or Tweets, to groups of followers, is one of the Internet's most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga.

The move comes weeks after Kingdom Holding, the investment firm of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, invested $300m to buy a “substantial” stake in Twitter

“[This] reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” Prince Alwaleed said of the deal in December.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo valued the company at $8 billion in October, according to media reports, which would peg the size of Alwaleed's investment at just under 4 percent.

Saudi-based Muslim scholar Salman Alodah this month topped a list of the 100 most influential Arabs on Twitter with 647,690 followers. The top six spots in the list, which was compiled by Khaled El Ahmad, a social media instructor from Jordan, were tweeters from Saudi Arabia.

Arabic accounts for 1.2% of all public tweets, and Arabic tweets have grown in volume over the past year at a staggering rate of 2,146%, according to Paris-based firm Semiocast.

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