Ueda: I have been working on globalization for more than 12 years. In my last job, I was the technical lead/manager for the Japanese market adoption of Google Maps and before that I was at Yahoo! I came to Twitter in November 2011 to start leading the engineering efforts around internationalization.
Thicke: How does language fit into Twitter’s vision?
Ueda: One of our core values is to reach every person on the planet. We care about everyone on earth; this is why we are also supporting minor languages. We recently covered Catalan and Basque. Again, we care about these languages.
Thicke: How many languages is Twitter offered in today?
Ueda: Twitter is offered in 33 languages today, and another 13 or so are coming. More than half of our traffic has been coming from outside the United States. And it’s growing. International is an important part of our growth.
Thicke: How do you manage so many languages? Are they all handled by volunteers?
Ueda: Yes, we are doubling down on community-based translation. Basically, we are relying on working with a community of volunteers. It’s been very successful.
Thicke: How do you define success?
Ueda: We define success in three ways. First of all, there is the translation quality. Because our volunteers are avid Twitter users, they understand the product before translating the string. They tend to come up with good translations. The turnaround time is also good: when we introduce a new feature, the volunteers respond quickly. Then there is the language coverage. It would be difficult to support a large number of languages if we were doing traditional translation. With volunteers we can cover more exotic languages. . .