Facebook today announced the launch of a new translation tool powered by Microsoft Bing Translate that lets users select to view Page posts in their native language. Page admins can select to show only machine translated posts, or they can select to allow Facebook users to submit their own translations. If these community translations receive approvals from other users, they’ll replace the machine translation. Currently, all Pages have been automatically opted in to allowing both machine and community translations.
Many brands are building international fan bases for their Page, so the option to have their posts translated means they’ll be able to better engage these foreign audiences, driving more engagement and clicks to their content. While not always perfectly accurate, the free translation tool is much cheaper and faster than having a human translate, geo-target, and publish localized versions of their posts.
Currently, the Translate button only appears to users with their language set to Korean, Japanese, Russian, Taiwanese and Chinese-Hong Kong. If Facebook and Bing roll the feature out to other popular languages or allowed it to be applied to ads as well, it could become an important driver of international growth and business for all Pages. One day Bing translation could also be applied to user posts to allow people to communicate across language barriers and form more international friendships.
The launch of this feature follows tests of a machine translation option for user comments on Page posts that we spotted last month. While comment translation is not part of the Bing tool’s rollout, it shows the potential for user content to receive translation in addition to Page posts.
In the past, Facebook has worked with Microsoft to power its own internal search and to augment Bing.com search results with Like counts from a user’s friends and the Facebook population at large. More recently, Bing Maps was integrated into the new Timeline profile as well as Facebook Places. Facebook has been successful with translation in the past, originally crowdsourcing translation of the site’s interface in many languages, and later extending the crowdsourced translation tool to Facebook apps and Connect-integrated sites.
Source: John Constine, Inside Facebook