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Tue 31 Jan 2012 05:34 PM

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Twitter gears up to roll out Arabic version

Micro-blogging site unveils plan to launch plan for languages that operate from right to left

Twitter gears up to roll out Arabic version
Twitter is one of the internets most popular social networking sites

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
$8bn 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 percent of all public tweets, and
Arabic tweets have grown in volume over the past year at a staggering rate of
2,146 percent, according to Paris-based firm Semiocast.

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