Microblogging site Twitter made headlines this month when a team of volunteer translators added two more languages – Filipino and Malay – to the site’s translation centre, meaning the site is now available in 13 different languages.
Not to be outdone, rival social network Facebook is reportedly preparing a Facebook Translate feature that will break down linguistic barriers among the site’s 750 million users. We could soon see a Facebook Translate button available on the social network, allowing users to view their friends’ wall posts in the dialect of their choice.
You needn’t be a professional translation expert to realise the implications of a Facebook Translate feature; it would make communication across linguistic and cultural barriers that much easier for the millions of people from all corners of the world who log onto Facebook every day.
Currently, most Facebook users rely on third-party serviced like Google Translate to help them communicate with users who speak another language; now these users will be able to understand their friends across the globe simply by clicking the Facebook Translate button, which will appear next to the ever-popular “Like” button.
Facebook Page owners will be able to translate comments from international fans, and respond to them without relying on external translation tools. Once a comment has been translated, an “Original” button will appear in place of the Translate button, allowing the user to switch the text back to its original language.
The Facebook Translate tool is currently in the testing phase and only available on a handful of the site’s pages; it’s not yet clear how many languages will be supported by the Translate feature, although the latest reports point to English, Spanish, French, Hebrew and Chinese. Facebook, like Twitter, has already harnessed the power of crowdsourced translation to make the site available in dozens of dialects, and a growing number of people worldwide are choosing the multilingual social media site as their preferred platform for communication.
Ultimately it seems that the latest translation capability will make it easier than ever to overcome linguistic limitations on Facebook, boosting the site’s popularity even more.
Facebook Translate will be a bit like having your very own personal professional interpreter at your beck and call; the exciting new tool is likely to make business communication and personal messaging a smoother and easier process in any language. Already, users across the globe are looking forward to the official rollout of the Facebook Translate button!
Sally Roberts is a keen author who enjoys discussing the latest world news and business developments.