Twitter has changed everything, somehow.
Brevity is the Soul of Wit
Still, the enforced constraint of Twitter is part of its charm and utility. It’s perfect for mobile devices and our hyper-connected world where you have less time and more content. And I have found that there really isn’t a thought or concept you can’t get across in 140 characters – or perhaps a few tweets strung together. Twitter forces us to pare our communication down to the bare bones and I have to admit that this is not always a bad thing – especially considering some of the verbose folks I am acquainted with!
One other aspect of Twitter that I find tremendously useful is the Hashtag. A hashtag is just a code appended to the end of a tweet, preceded by a hash mark or number sign (#). It’s useful to link tweets from all over the world by a single subject or conversation. For example, if you’re following a discussion on the Olympics, you might search Twitter for #london2012 hashtags or similar. This allows anyone to join the overall conversation and narrows down the tweets you’re reading so you only see the applicable stuff.
Translators use hashtags as much as anybody. Any night I can log on and see what my industry is talking about by checking up a few standard hashtags:
This is the most obvious one, of course, but 12 characters is 8.5% of a 140-character tweet. There are a lot of words out there 12 letters long or less, so most of us avoid this one.
I love this one, because no one outside of this industry will have any idea what it means. The ‘x’ is understood to mean ‘trans’ and then you pronounce the consonant ‘L’ and the full number ‘eight’ to get translate! Then again, I am easily amused.
I like this one for its elegance: The starting letter of ‘translation’, then the number 9 representing the nine letters ‘ransaltio’ and then the letter ‘n’. Very abstract, and almost beautiful.
Similar to the above – except starting with an ‘L’ and ending with an ‘N’ with ten letters in-between for ‘localisation’. The same idea is behind #i18n for ‘internationalisation’.
Next time you’re curious about what’s happening in the translation industry – and who isn’t? - go to Twitter and search on a few hashtags!