Twitter’s multilingual error page

I’m not sure if Twitter has officially retired the “Fail Whale” landing page that we all grew accustomed to over the years.

But I recently came across a Twitter error page that did not include the whale, though did include a number of languages.

The page defaults to the user’s browser language, so I initially saw an error page in English.

Clicking on the language links in the footer quickly changes the language of the error page.

Shown here is German.

I’m assuming that English is the fallback language for instances in which the user’s browser is set to an unsupported languages (such as Swedish).

Over the past two years I’ve seen an increasing number of companies localize their error pages.

These details really matter.

Tags:

2 Responses to “Twitter’s multilingual error page”

  1. Matt Sanford August 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Twitter maintains several different error pages, each representing a different sort of error. There is the Robot (500), Whale (503) and Page not found (404). All of the language selection and translation is done in Javascript because those pages are static HTML assets. I recommend a taking a look at the source to see the very simple translation support.

    They are static to prevent an infinite loop if the error is at a very basic level and would prevent the display of even the error page. It also allows the display of an error page when there are no server-side resources to fulfill your request (503, the Whale).

  2. John Yunker August 17, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    Hi Matt — Thanks for clarifying!