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Introducing Translations for Facebook Connect

September 29, 2009ByCat Lee

Translating your website to tailor its content to an international audience can be expensive, time consuming, and complicated. Idiomatic phrases, complex sentence structures, and slang expressions can make website translation a daunting -- and confusing -- task. Today at the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference in London we are are announcing Translations for Facebook Connect to help solve this problem for other websites and applications.

We're basing Translations for Facebook Connect on the solution we developed for our own site when we needed to make Facebook available in more languages. In January 2008, we introduced the Translations application, effectively turning the translation process over to our users -- the people who understood Facebook and their languages best. We were blown away by its success. The site was translated into Spanish in two weeks and French followed soon after and was translated in just 24 hours. Now, less than two years after introducing the app, Facebook is available in more than 65 languages, all translated by our users using the Translations application.

Translations for Facebook Connect is available as a free tool for developers worldwide to simplify the process of translating a website, IFrame or FBML-based application into any of the languages Facebook currently supports. For example, with Translations for Facebook Connect, country tourist boards or travel sites that want to attract foreign visitors on holiday can use this framework to translate their sites and automatically present the content to users in their native language after they log in with Facebook Connect.

We're excited to see what you can do with this tool. As a technology and platform company, we believe services like this can serve as building blocks for a Web driven by people, where you can connect with anyone or anything you care about, anywhere you choose and now in many different languages.

How It Works

You can start integrating Translations for Facebook Connect into your site with an HTML file and a few lines of JavaScript in less than an hour. Whether you want to translate an application, a social widget, or an entire website, you have complete control over every aspect of the translation process. After you choose what languages you want your site or application to support, you can get help from the Facebook community to translate your site, as we did, or you can do the translation yourself, or make a specific person the administrator of the process. To start translating your site, read the documentation on the Developer Wiki.

With a revamped set of server-side API methods, you can submit content to the Translations application as needed by calling the intl.uploadNativeStrings API method, as well as retrieve submitted and translated content through the intl.getTranslations API method and translation FQL table. Once you register content for translation, your connected Facebook users can start translating your sites' content just as users helped translate Facebook.

There's also a new client-side feature set, built upon our XFBML framework. We've created an XFBML version of the fb:intl tag and other related tags, which let you get started more quickly and easily. Developers who use these features will not only automatically have their wrapped content submitted to the Facebook Translations application, but translators will also have the option of translating the content inline.

To try out the new XFBML features, we've created a very basic demo to get started. With this, you can quickly get started and see the translation mechanism in action.

We look forward to helping you better connect people with one another wherever they are in the world, and wherever they are on the Web.

Cat, de l'équipe Facebook Connect, a traduit cette phrase avec la nouvelle application de traduction.
(Cat, who is on the Facebook Connect team, translated this sentence using the new translations application.)