Feeds

Facebook turns users into web translation engine

A great way to nab your data

The next step in data security

Looking to translate your website into another language? You can now seek help from the social-networking-obsessed masses - and juice Facebook's advertising schemes in the process.

Today, at a web app conference in London, Facebook introduced a free service dubbed Translations for Facebook Connect, a translation engine driven by, yes, the site's users. The social networking outfit has used a similar application on its own site since January 2008, translating its original English content into 65 other tongues. The app asks Facebook users to provide translations of particular site phrases, then collects votes on which translation is most accurate.

According to the company, when the tool was first used it produced a Spanish-language Facebook in two weeks. And a French translation in 24 hours.

Now, the company is offering its translation-wisdom-of-the-crowds engine to the roughly 15,000 sites that use Facebook Connect, a service that lets netizens log onto third-party sites with their Facebook accounts and send certain info back to Facebook. Naturally, the new Translations service is meant to juice the Connect service. Today, the company also introduced a tool, the Connect Wizard, designed to ease the addition of Connect to any website.

Connect, you see, ends up feeding user data into Facebook's grand scheme to actually turn a profit. The more Facebook knows about what you do online, the more targeted its targeted ads. At least in theory.

When it comes to advertising, Facebook is mimicking The Google Way. But the two diverge on translation tools. Google's engine uses machines for translations, not social networkers. And in speaking with the New York Times, Facebook couldn't help but take a subtle swipe at Google Translate.

"Other businesses try to accomplish the same thing using technology to solve these problems, and it’s not always 100 percent accurate," said Ethan Beard, head of platform at Facebook. "But technology doesn’t take into account cultural values, idioms that are hard to translate. In the same way we think reviews are better when they come from friends, translation done by people is significantly better than what you would get otherwise." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.