The social media is one of the leading communication platforms worldwide. The social media platforms include twitter, facebook, Google plus, LinkedIn, among others. Unlike the traditional media, the social media informs and connects users worldwide within the shortest time possible. This has been made possible by internet connections.
The 21st century can be described as a century of technological revolution. It has experienced a remarkable upsurge in technology and a sea of innovations. The social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are among the unprecedented innovations that the world has experienced this century.
The inventions and innovations in technology and the eventual rapid innovations in the social media have made the notion of globalization a reality that cannot be doubted. Myriads of people across the universe are able to communicate in the social media with much ease and at the shortest time possible.
According to research carried out by Statistica, the number of active facebook users worldwide as of the third quarter of 2014 was 1.35 billion. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active facebook users had surpassed 1 billion. This shows how fundamental the social media is in the day to day communication worldwide
The major communication obstacle however in the social media is language barrier. Language barrier limits communication between people of varying languages yet they ought to communicate for various reasons. Forexample someone who speaks only Chinese language is unable to interact with another who speaks only English language. To make language barrier a less challenge however, some social media platforms have devised better ways of addressing this challenge.
To deal with language barrier among its users, Twitter has added Bing translation tool to its site and mobile applications iOS and Android, and tweet Deck. According to twitter, ”With Tweet translation, you won’t miss any of the action unfolding on Twitter. You can choose when you want to see a translation for a Tweet, and you can also adjust your settings so the option to view Tweet translations is disabled”. This translation tool could help companies that carryout marketing in twitter to reach more users without having to create separate accounts for different languages. In so doing, twitter users are able to receive spontaneous translations in their tweets, hence making communication easier for its users.
Translation in communication is as important as internet to the social media, because without it, there will be no effective communication given the fact that myriads of languages are spoken worldwide. Machine translations tools though not entirely effective play a significant role in translation not only in the social media but also in any form of translation.
One of the challenges to machine translation is ambiguity in language. A word or phrase is said to be ambiguous if it has more than one meaning. Some words have different meanings in different languages. The machine translate however may not be in position to give the appropriate meaning or contextual meaning of a word and the end result of this weakness is misinformation.
The weaknesses of machine translation have provoked a series of arguments against it. Some analysts argue that language can only be effectively translated by professional translators who understand the language and the culture of the people who speak that language. Given the fact that language is part of the people’s culture, it’s important that one who translates that language is acquainted with the entire culture of the people.