Sunday, April 20, 2008

Facebook asks users to translate new versions for free

I found this article on Google News today. It states that Facebook is asking its users to help translate the site into Japanese, Turkish, Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish and Dutch! These new translated sites will join the Spanish, French and German sites that will launch earlier this year. Although asking its users is a great way to make them feel involved as well as extremely inexpensive, Facebook has come across some major grammatical errors with the newly launched sites. The article states:

"Coolness aside, and many users are embracing the idea, other social networks aren't "crowdsourcing" translation. The move is generating mounting criticism online, where some users question whether amateurs can produce good translations. Critics complain of sloppiness and skimping, even as Facebook says it is improving service in an innovative way."

If Facebook can fix all of the technical and grammatical kinks, do you think this idea of involving the users this way is a good idea?


Adriana M. Boveda-Lambie said...

I don't know, but I see this creating major communication problems; in the end they will spend as much if not more dollars in correcting the languages.

For example, not everybody knows formal universal Spanish. In particular every country has its own slang - so what is a fruit in one country can be an offensive term in another.

They should find a different way to involve their users than this. Any ideas?

David CHan said...

I agree adriana, in the chinese culture there are also sub-dialects of the languages and it would cause more confusion for that culture and would cost major communications problem for the company.

So its not a good idea to have users do this.