Facebook Asking Users To Be Translators

Posted Jan 22, 2008

What does Wikipedia and Facebook have in common? They both are depending on the community to translate their web sites into different languages. This is a more unorthodox approach than Rupert Murdoch’s social network, MySpace.com. MySpace hires translators and opens offices abroad. This may be a frugal thing for a $15 billion valued company, but it could actually be a clever scheme. Maybe this is their way of making multilingual users feel empowered. I know if I truly knew how to read or write another language flawlessly, I would spend some time contributing.

So far, Facebook users have created a Spanish, German, and French supported version of the social network. The alternative language platform for the social network is built using the Translation application available on Facebook. After adding the application, a user is asked to translate various phrases and users that can read the language vote on the most accurate translation.

Before Facebook got the chance support the German language, StudiVZ a clone of the social network beat them to the punch.  StudiVZ looks almost exactly like Facebook, but is written completely in the German language.

Another social network, Livemocha is promoting their users to be multilingual by offering free online courses and networking resources for different languages.  Livemocha raised $6 million in funding earlier this month.

Although Friendster has not been asking users to translate their social network, they have created a Simplified Chinese Language Group to build a Chinese speaking community on Friendster.  This is to get feedback for their newly translated Chinese site.