If history is any indication, plenty of companies will be rolling out special promotions on Twitter to coincide with the 2014 Winter Olympics. But I can’t imagine many of them being as useful as the special promotion being rolled out by One Hour Translation, which plans to offer near-instantaneous translation services over Twitter–for free.
To use it, simply tweet your message to @OHT with the language you’d like it translated into. (The service currently offers 75 different languages.) After 15 to 20 minutes, and if all goes according to plan, you should receive your answer back in tweet form. “This is to help the visitors and reporters,” CEO Ofer Shoshan told Fast Company in a phone conversation. The service, however, is open to everyone, as soon as the games kick off during the Opening Ceremony Friday night.
How will that work, exactly? “We have a server that monitors the account,” said Shoshan. “It takes that tweet and sends it into our backend system.” Shoshan claims the system has 15,000 human translators.
Mind you, 15 minutes isn’t nearly as fast as Google Translate or a host of other free services if you’re hoping to find immediate and pressing answers, like, say, Where’s the closest bathroom in Sochi, and hopefully one with a single toilet? But it’s admittedly one of the more creative uses of Twitter we’ve seen, and Shoshan sees the Olympic gathering of global voices as the perfect platform to market his brand.