In a world awash with Twitter clients, new apps have to offer something new and interesting to stand out. Twitran—a $2 offering from
Grapph—does the job for the iPhone and iPod touch with an interesting gimmick: language translation.
Powered by the Google Translator, Twitran lets users dip into the public stream of Tweets from around the world, converting otherwise indecipherable tweets into English (or the language of your choice). The app promises translation capabilities for more than two dozen available languages and dialects ranging from Afrikaans to Yiddish. You can also translate your Tweets prior to publishing them.
Twitran isn’t perfect. The service is only as good as its translating software, which often, but not always, finds it difficult to keep up with the 140-character lingo of your multinational Tweeps. And the navigation can be confusing to newcomers; the intertwining arrows of the Translate button look similar to the circled arrows of the Retweet button.
The app is solid as a Twitter client, doing the things—like posting and reading Tweets—users want it to, but not in a noticeably better or different way than popular apps like
Twitterrific. This is a solid app for multilingual users, but a warning: Tweets will sometimes get lost in translation.
[Joel Mathis is a freelance journalist and political columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. He lives in Philadelphia.]