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Platform Internationalization

February 8, 2008BySasha Rush


Yesterday, we announced the release of Facebook in Spanish. We are really excited to bring Facebook to a whole new set of users in their native language. In the coming months, we plan to continue internationalizing and make similar releases in many other languages.

We took a neat approach to translation. In addition to shipping some of strings off to be translated, we used FBML to wrap all of our static text. When a bilingual user comes to the site, she sees untranslated English strings marked with a red link and can translate them inline. Using this approach, users were able to translate the entire site in less than a month.

We chose this method to make it easy for platform applications to internationalize. Soon developers will be able to use the same method that we used internally to work with users to translate their apps. While this system is not yet available, we wanted to assure developers that bringing your apps along is a top priority of internationalizing.

In the meantime, we have a quick way for applications to integrate with users in new locales. We are now sending a param "fb_sig_locale" to all canvas pages that signals the locale set for the visiting user. Feel free to use this to begin localizing.