One of the most requested features on Mastodon is a built-in language translation system, where you can click on a post and it automatically translates it into your language.

If this is important to you, and if you are comfortable using Github, please give this issue a thumbs up to let the developers know that this feature is wanted:

(I thought this was already being worked on, but I cannot find any official announcements saying this.)

For those who don't know, a fediverse client on android called #Fedilab (@apps) already supports translations as a built-in client side feature. And they even use their on self-hosted FOSS translation service at

@futureisfoss @apps

Oh wow!

That is a high quality tip, thanks for that! 😮 👍

Just gave the website version a go and it really works!

@feditips @apps The FOSS community is awesome isn't it ? 😉

This is the official git repo of that translation service -
As you can see, there are many other LibreTranslate instances like the one hosted by #fedilab, so I recommend using different instances to spread out the server load.

@futureisfoss @apps

Do you know if it spreads server load if you use the feature through the app? Or does it all go through

@feditips @apps I believe they all go through, that's probably why they made an instance of their own, so that they can make sure its working well on their app.

@feditips @apps IIRC, fedilab used to use a 3rd party service like yandex for their translations, but now thanks to the LibreTranslate project they can provide a translation service of their own :)

@futureisfoss @feditips @apps

IIRC, fedilab solía usar un servicio de terceros como yandex para sus traducciones, pero ahora, gracias al proyecto LibreTranslate, pueden proporcionar un servicio de traducción propio :)

Yes, we only use our server for translations. But we have to use a more powerful server. It's down from time to time.

@apps @futureisfoss @feditips
Maybe I'm a bit spoiled by DeepL or Google but I just tried to translate an English text into German.
The result was not really what I would expect in 2022.
It reminded me a bit of Google Translate about 10 to 15 years ago.
It's good enough to get a rough understanding what the text is about. That's about it.
Maybe the quality is depending on the selected language?
I guess I'll stick to DeepL for now.

@futureisfoss @feditips @apps
La comunidad de FOSS es asombrosa, ¿no es así? 😉

Este es el repositorio oficial de git de ese servicio de traducción:
Como puede ver, hay muchas otras instancias de LibreTranslate como la alojada por #fedilab, por lo que recomiendo usar diferentes instancias para distribuir la carga del servidor.

@futureisfoss @feditips @apps Damn that is cool. Might have give fedilab another go. I get a lot of German in my feed and I don't speak a word if it 😅

@futureisfoss @feditips
Para aquellos que no lo saben, un cliente fediverso en Android llamado #Fedilab (@apps) ya admite traducciones como una función integrada del lado del cliente. E incluso usan su propio servicio de traducción FOSS alojado en

please have a look on fedilab app.It's got the embedded translation feature offers several translation services that can be chosen by User.

@feditips Only if it doesn't use e.g. Google. I'm extremely skeeved out by the thought of people having a built-in button to violate our privacy.

@IceWolf @feditips I agree. The feature would be nice, but pretty sure it's way more useful at the ✨browser✨ level.

Like, Vivaldi has it built in, and I think Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge do too... so... Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari are lagging behind (again).

@matt @feditips Google Chrome presumably sends it to Google, so that's equally bad. Edge, I'm unsure about, but I bet it uses The Cloud™ as well...

@matt @feditips (Sending it to the Masto server you're on wouldn't be bad either, seeing as how it already has the post, but that's a world of difference from sending it to some rando company.)

@matt @IceWolf

To give some context, it must be the most common question I got asked when the big new wave of members joined: where's the translate button? It's like people just expect it to be there.

Whether or not it is more useful through a browser, people are looking for it in Mastodon itself (shrug)

@feditips @matt I'm probably gonna go thumbs-/down/ it (assuming it uses some cloud service) 'cause, yeah, not cool.

Better to explain to people that it's not really a good thing to ship people's private discussions to Google. (And yeah private discussions do happen on here, followers-only scope is great.)

@IceWolf @matt

It's not using a cloud service, it would be using an independent instance of a free open source service.

It wouldn't be going to Google.

@feditips @matt Yeah, but is that instance /run by the same people as the Masto instance/? Even if it's open source, if it's some other service run by other people we don't know, it's still not okay. It's not /as horrifyingly bad/, but that doesn't make it good.

@feditips @matt We trust our instance admins.

We don't trust some random (probably all defaulting to the same one!) person running a translator service.

@IceWolf @matt

I am assuming it would be run by someone connected to Mastodon.

The third party Mastodon app Fedilab (@apps)has actually gone ahead and set up its own instance, you can try it here:

It works in the Fedilab app too.

@feditips @matt @apps "Connected to Mastodon" and "connected to your specific Mastodon instance" aren't the same thing at all, though.

@IceWolf @matt @apps

I doubt there would be a centralised service like that. Guessing it would be more like Searx or Nitter or something, with the same basic service on many independent instances?

@feditips @matt @apps Yes, but if all Masto servers default to the same service... then it's still centralized.

@IceWolf @matt @apps

Sorry, I don't mean a centralised service, I mean the same software running on independent unconnected instances.

So, Translation Site A and Translation Site B would both run the same translation software, but they would have no connection between each other of any kind.

@feditips @matt @apps Yes, exactly, but that's not my point. My point is that if all the Masto instances default to translation site A, it's effectively centralized on A.

@feditips @matt @apps But even if different instances use several different translation sites, it's /still/ not cool because it's shipping our posts off to people we don't know.

(Sure, we don't know all of our friends' server admins, but "trust your admins" (and assume other people can trust theirs) is one thing, "trust some random translation server operator" is another.)

@IceWolf @matt @apps

Hopefully a disclaimer would explain, so people can make an informed choice.

To be honest though, no option is completely ok

If there's no translation service offered at all, some people may go back to Twitter etc and use translation services from Google, Bing etc.

It might be the least worst option for Mastodon to offer optional translation services through indie FOSS translation sites.

@feditips @matt @apps Not violating people's privacy is better than Growing™.

People use fedi to get /away/ from this sort of privacy crap.

Also, like I said, if people use outside translation services, then it's their fault. And probably way less common than if there's a built-in button to tell strangers everything.

@feditips @matt @apps Sure, some people'll go back to Twitter. It'd be great if they could stay! But there'll always be people going back to Twitter.

@feditips @matt @apps (also, it's not optional if I can't opt out. And I presumably can't opt out, since this is a receiving-side thing.)

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@IceWolf @matt @apps

I'm not talking about growing, I'm talking about making it easier for people to leave Twitter.

A lot of people on Twitter (and Facebook etc) don't really want to be there but they are trapped by the network effect.

If they speak a language that isn't commonly spoken on here, they will have an even tougher time coming here.

Having an optional, disclaimer-hidden translation service based on indie servers would be (IMHO) the least worst option in the circumstances.

Also bear in mind that if you post public messages (such as the replies in this thread) then what you write is already exposed to outsiders.

Even with private messages, recipients who want a translation are going to be copy pasting these into Google Translate or whatever, especially if there's no built-in translation service. There will never be a way to opt out of copy paste translation.

So... there are translation privacy problems in all circumstances :/

@IceWolf @matt @apps

I don't *think* they would default to a particular instance?

But yeah, that would be centralisation if they did. Fair point.

@IceWolf @matt @apps

I am being vague because I am not a developer so I don't know how realistic it is for each Masto instance to have its own translation instance, or whether there would have to be some smaller pool of trusted translation instances.

If there was some kind of disclaimer you had to click through to switch on the translation feature, maybe? It could say which service the instance uses, and have a link to their privacy policy?

@feditips @matt People are going to be running this on our posts on /their/ instances, so what's important is that it runs /on their instance/ so /they're/ not shipping our posts off to someone else. It's not like we have control of what their server uses.

And I would've said it's not realistic, except Firefox's extension suddenly appeared. It would still take a lot of work to make it run serverside though.

But, better /no builtin translations at all/ than any sort of third party like this.

If someone copies and pastes our posts into some service, then it's their fault. If they just click a button and give away our posts, it's Masto's. And it'd presumably be a lot more common when it's an official feature.

@thatonecalculator @feditips @matt @apps It's still a random third-party we don't know or trust.

There shouldn't be a button built in to send our posts there.

@thatonecalculator @feditips @matt @apps Also, have you seen all the uproar whenever a fedi scraping instance comes along? Those get blocked quick.

So yeah, no, I won't just "expect it to be scraped". the thing is, it's just post text. Not usernames or IDs, not metadata, not IPs. It provides more upsides than downsides.

@thatonecalculator @feditips @matt @apps Nobody cares about shipping off our post text to a company without consent?

That's a huge downside right there.

If we'd checked a box saying "let people submit my posts to third-party translation services through the UI", that'd be one thing.

But that's not the case, it's just A Thing with no way to say "hey, no, stop that".

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@thatonecalculator @feditips @matt @apps Yes, and those visibility schemas are /important./

Privacy matters! Not everything is public!

(Also, followers-only actually does control where your post gets sent. It only gets sent to instances that have critters following you.) on an instance that doesn't respect followers only, all users of that instance will be able to see the post.

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