Facebook Launches in Chinese, Expands Crowd-Sourced Translations Effort

Although “Facebook” is unfortunately a near-homonym for “doomed to die” in Chinese, the company officially launched a Chinese language version of the site today, taking another step into the complex China market. Facebook faces tough local competition in China – both from entrenched leaders like QQ and massively-funded Xiaonei.

Facebook, with the help of new VP of Communications and Public Policy Elliot Schrage, is reportedly still crafting its formal China strategy, as navigating the various political issues has proven challenging for even the largest of tech companies.

In addition, Facebook announced today that it has added 55 new languages to its crowd-sourced translation efforts. Facebook’s Chad Little says,

Now native speakers can use our Translations application to translate Facebook into additional Asian languages (Malaysian, Vietnamese), African dialects (Zulu, Xhosa), regional varieties (British English, Canadian French) and even rarely spoken languages, such as Latin and Esperanto.

Facebook continues to grow internationally, recently surpassing MySpace in global visitors for May 2008. Facebook’s Translations efforts are definitely accelerating its international growth.

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2 Responses to “Facebook Launches in Chinese, Expands Crowd-Sourced Translations Effort”

  1. Jamie says:

    hot topic of language facebook has gave with ‘regional variations’. these can possibly go well or be influnenced by another variation of the language such as Brazilian Spanish and British English could become corrupted by influence from Spain’s Spanish and American English.

    In the case of British English some well needed campaigned requests still are missing and they need to translate abit more phases (i gone through the ’134 phrases’

    the education problem
    preschool = nursery & reception
    elementary = infant/ junior and primary [infant and junior combined]
    high school = i know UK is the 51st US State LOL but they still use Secondary school (Grammar Comprehensive/ Academy/ specialist college)!
    Further Ed: (16+) (College/ Post 16)
    University (Undergraduate) = (lower) Grad School (BSc BA, BEd and hons)
    University (Post Graduate) = Grad School (PHD etc)

    zip vs postal code
    cellphone vs mobile

    ^ they need to add support for these to be ‘translatable’ (as this the most annoying part for English GB users is the need to change not phases like add, Okay, Send thats is trival but facebook chooses to have them up for voting instead of more important education ones and a few others like E-Mail Address and Postcode, IM Address (not screenname [AIM legacy] – Yahoo and MSN is popular in europe and the UK not AIM) and the mentioning of color and favorite

    I found it interesting reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_differences as a brit and
    it will be interesting when English GB/UK goes mainstream which English version gets used where (by new members)

    there is a good chance the Commonwealth countries could go GB

    one of the main changes mainly needed in a English Australia Facebook one would be G’Day (a greeting of hello)

    Canada has a choice 2 strains of English and a version of French – English (US) [north american buddies], English GB (Commonwealth connections) and French

    New Zealand likely use English GB again being in the commonwealth or English Australia [if one launched] as New Zealand English is similar to Australian

    1 thing English US has over all the English versions is the dominance of American TV and the american language (E.g. Microsoft brings on MS Windows – particularly with the word Favorite)

  2. Inside Facebook » App Exporting On the Rise: Xiaonei App Developers Copying Top Facebook App Developers says:

    [...] with powerful and robust localization systems that will soon be offered to developers as well (see Facebook’s plans and hi5’s plans), versus developing for local platforms. (Facebook itself just launched a [...]

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