PALO ALTO, Calif. — Feb. 7, 2008 — Facebook today announced the first step in a broad plan to internationalize the site with translation into Spanish. German and French versions of Facebook are expected in the coming weeks. Nearly 1,500 Spanish-speaking users on Facebook chose to be part of the effort and translated the site from English to Spanish in less than four weeks.
Current users who want to view Facebook in Spanish can change their language preference from their account settings. Beginning on Monday, Feb. 11, any person who goes to www.facebook.com from a Spanish-speaking country will see the site in Spanish. Facebook currently has more than 2.8 million active users in Latin America and Spain.
“Over 60 percent of Facebook users are now outside of the U.S., and many live in countries where English is not the primary language” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. “Our goal has always been to allow people to use Facebook in their native language so we built an application to enable users to participate in translating the site into their local languages and dialects. We really appreciate the contribution from users in translating Facebook.”
Users who added the Facebook translation application were allowed to submit translations inline while browsing the site. The community then approved all translations through a voting system. For example, users agreed on “dar un toque” to describe the Facebook-coined term “poke.”
Many translators are motivated by the impact of their contribution to making the site available to millions who speak their language. The leading Spanish translator was responsible for 1,284 of the winning sentences, almost 3 percent of the entire site.
As the company releases new features, Facebook will continue to empower its users to make these available in their local language. In addition, the translation application will soon be available to Facebook Platform developers who want to have their applications translated by the community.
Facebook users can now also access the mobile site in their supported language through any mobile device with Web capabilities. To sign up for Facebook, users can go to www.facebook.com or visit m.facebook.com from any mobile device with Internet access.