Facebook Launches in Chinese, Expands Crowd-Sourced Translations Effort

Although “Facebook” is unfortunately a near-homonym for “doomed to die” in Chinese, the company officially launched a Chinese language version of the site today, taking another step into the complex China market. Facebook faces tough local competition in China – both from entrenched leaders like QQ and massively-funded Xiaonei.

Facebook, with the help of new VP of Communications and Public Policy Elliot Schrage, is reportedly still crafting its formal China strategy, as navigating the various political issues has proven challenging for even the largest of tech companies.

In addition, Facebook announced today that it has added 55 new languages to its crowd-sourced translation efforts. Facebook’s Chad Little says,

Now native speakers can use our Translations application to translate Facebook into additional Asian languages (Malaysian, Vietnamese), African dialects (Zulu, Xhosa), regional varieties (British English, Canadian French) and even rarely spoken languages, such as Latin and Esperanto.

Facebook continues to grow internationally, recently surpassing MySpace in global visitors for May 2008. Facebook’s Translations efforts are definitely accelerating its international growth.