Habari Gani, Twitter! The Kiswahili language, spoken prevalently in sub-Saharan and East African nations, is now officially the first African language recognized by Twitter. The network can recognize Swahili words and offer translation. The national language of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is now spoken in seven other nations as well, and Kenyans are among the most active social media users.
Kiswahili has long been somewhat disrespected on the social platform, as speech posted there would be automatically translated to the Indonesian language. Kenyan citizens had been protesting the lapse, on social media, with #SwahiliNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili. Activists, hip hop artists, and other public speakers all use Kiswahili regularly. It is a language that unites countries that do not have a language in common otherwise.
Now Twitter translation of the language spoken by over 50 million people, is said to be “near perfect” and on par with the translations of most other languages. This is significant to Kenyan politicians because the language is seen as a unifying one in the area. And here in the U.S. Africans living abroad will be able to more effectively to communicate with friends and relatives back home and to keep up with news from their regions of birth.