Facebook adding translation services for posts

With over 750 million accounts, Facebook users span nearly every country in the world. This large population can cause communication problems because of the number of different languages everyone speaks. Now, according to Inside Facebook, the social media site has started to roll out a translation feature to help bridge the communication gap between users.

The new “Translate” button sits next to the “Like” button and apparently does a good job of translating not only standard words but also slang phrases. The given example shows a translation of the phrase, “Totally cool” from Hebrew to English. After the post has been translated, the button changes to “Original” so users can see the exact text that was originally entered.

The translation functionality could be especially useful for multinational organizations that receive comments that are in different languages. Currently many people cut and paste the comments into Google’s translation tool, so the embedded feature would be a timesaver. Facebook’s translation currently supports Spanish, French, Hebrew, Chinese, and English.

The feature is currently only available on Facebook Pages and not on profiles or apps, but if it works as planned we can expect to see it rolled out for the entire site in the near future. We wonder when a bad translation will lead to another world-wide Internet meme: Move Zig!

Image Courtesy of Inside Facebook

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18 Comments

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As I understand it, Facebook is building it's own translation engine. Wouldn't be easier to have all the languages available by using Bing Translate instead? Y'know, since they already are in a partnership with Microsoft.

Bogdan Calapod said,
As I understand it, Facebook is building it's own translation engine. Wouldn't be easier to have all the languages available by using Bing Translate instead? Y'know, since they already are in a partnership with Microsoft.

Guess they don't want to outsource such functionality - Facebook have access to a rather unique mass of data for "teaching" language.

thnok said,
Quite strange cause the comments are translated but not the original post.

I agree; I believe they should place a translate button by the post as well.

thnok said,
Quite strange cause the comments are translated but not the original post.

There is a comment link for the OP too, but only if it was posted as a status message. I think those so called "app messages" (posted via an app) can't be translated. Hopefully soon enough though. Sounds more like a technical oversight than anything else.

this isn't sweet... it's further privacy holes built into facebook. people may comment or talk to yuo in different languages so that you can have a little bit of privacy but if anyone can just click translate, then that's all gone. at least before there was an extra step of having to copy the text into google translate.

capr said,
this isn't sweet... it's further privacy holes built into facebook. people may comment or talk to yuo in different languages so that you can have a little bit of privacy but if anyone can just click translate, then that's all gone. at least before there was an extra step of having to copy the text into google translate.

make a secret code.

capr said,
this isn't sweet... it's further privacy holes built into facebook. people may comment or talk to yuo in different languages so that you can have a little bit of privacy but if anyone can just click translate, then that's all gone. at least before there was an extra step of having to copy the text into google translate.

As you said they can copy into Google, given you have to click a translate button in Facebook, and then pull apart the grammatical mistakes, misinterpretations, etc etc, it is basically the same amount of privacy as you had before.

Use a private message, or alter friends lists and viewing permissions.

capr said,
this isn't sweet... it's further privacy holes built into facebook. people may comment or talk to yuo in different languages so that you can have a little bit of privacy but if anyone can just click translate, then that's all gone. at least before there was an extra step of having to copy the text into google translate.

That's a ridiculous complaint; private communication on Facebook is what the Messages product is for.

Callum said,

That's a ridiculous complaint; private communication on Facebook is what the Messages product is for.

Twitter has also had tweet translation for ages. I don't see the problem here either.

capr said,
this isn't sweet... it's further privacy holes built into facebook. people may comment or talk to yuo in different languages so that you can have a little bit of privacy but if anyone can just click translate, then that's all gone. at least before there was an extra step of having to copy the text into google translate.

If you're talking in public and using a country's language to hide, you're doing it wrong.

saxondale. said,
How long do you think it'll take someone to make a site for horrible/funny translations?

I'd love to see that site.