This week, San-Francisco based social networking giant Twitter announced that its translation center is now available for Filipino/"Tagalog" and Malay languages.

Filipino-American weekly Asian Journal reports that the site tweeted on Monday: “MABUHAY! Mengalu-alukan!”--- part of Twitter’s official confirmation that the service is now available in the two languages.

“As Twitter looks to expand itself around the world, localized translations of the website are a must, and as Facebook has shown, crowd-sourced voluntary translations are the most effective way doing
this,” Twitter explained on its blog. The website relies on more than 200,000 volunteer translators to help translate a “tweet” into various languages.

Twitter's first non-English launch was in April 2008 with the release of Twitter in Japanese. In November 2009, Twitter launched its second and third languages, Spanish and French. And now, Twitter is fully translated into 13 languages including Dutch, Portuguese, Indonesian, Italian, German, Korean, Russian, Turkish, Malay and Filipino.

Dutch and Indonesian were the first languages to be fully translated by community volunteers using its Translation Center that opened earlier in the year. Volunteers translate, support pages, desktop and mobile applications — everything except the tweets. A select group of translators works closely with the team at Twitter to maintain localized versions of the service.

The move to localize is seen by Internet analysts as a bold step by the microblogging site to expand in foreign markets and maintain its stranglehold as one of the world’s top social networking websites.

Twitter, which allows users to post messages up to 140 characters, has more than 175 million users but trails social networking behemoth Facebook’s 750 million users.

“According to a report by comScore, the Philippines ranks sixth worldwide as having the most Twitter users, trailing only Japan and Indonesia in the Asia Pacific region," Asian Journal's Joseph Pimentel
reports. "Indonesia and Brazil rank first and second worldwide, followed by Venezuela, Netherlands and Japan. The U.S. ranks 11th as having the most Twitter users, according to comScore.”

“Given Filipinos' penchant for texting, it’s no surprise that Twitter has become a popular website in the country and for many Filipinos around the world," Pimentel writes. "Being able to translate to
Filipino can only be seen as a way for Twitter to continue its presence in the Filipino community.”