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Twitter translates into Spanish

A Spanish-language version of the site is the first non-English translation of the site to be rolled out as part of a new internationalization effort.

So how do you say "fail whale" en español? Twitter has launched a Spanish translation, according to a blog post Tuesday (in Spanish) by co-founder Biz Stone.

It's the first of multiple volunteer-assisted translations for the microblogging site, the post explained. A look at Twitter's public timeline will show that it's used in many languages across the world, but until this point, the site has been English only. Now, users can go into their settings to translate it into Spanish.

This could be key as Twitter attempts to grow bigger overseas amid allegations that its traffic has plateaued. Facebook, for example, saw significant growth overseas when it started launching user-translated versions of its site.

To better inform the Twittering masses, we have gone to the trouble of plugging the term "fail whale" into Google Translate to see how you say it in Spanish. That didn't go too well with the algorithm, so we tried "whale of failure" and came out with "la ballena de fracaso." Unfortunately, that just doesn't have the same ring.

But this is not actually the first time that Twitter has toyed with launching a non-English edition. Last year, Twitter board member Joi Ito hyped up the launch of a standalone Twitter Japan site, powered by an investment from Ito's Digital Garage, that was notable because it was ad-supported (Twitter still hasn't rolled out ads or even said that it will for sure).

Biz Stone filled in CNET News on the status of Twitter Japan via e-mail on Tuesday night: "(It's) doing very well. A few of us were there a few weeks ago to launch a brand new mobile service. We had a really fun tweetup in Tokyo."

Twitter hasn't said what the next translations of its site will be, though presumably they'd pick a language that's already spoken by many users or one spoken in a region where it hopes to make big inroads. Or they could just be cutesy and launch in Klingon or Pirate.

This post was updated at 10:40 p.m. with comment from Biz Stone.