Examining Facebook’s motivation for translation

Facebook’s mission has spread far beyond Menlo Park, Calif. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO and Co-Founder, wants to connect the world. Not only is he a driving force behind Internet.org, the plan to bring Internet access to those in lesser-developed countries, but Facebook has also stepped up its translation services by acquiring startup Mobile Technologies, makers of translation app Jibbigo.

Ofer Shoshan, the CEO of One Hour Translation, applauded Facebook for the move and feels that more major brands on the site should look into translation service as the social network grows internationally.

Shoshan’s company provides translation services for many Fortune 500 companies, and sees more companies getting on board as customer bases expand. He talked with Inside Facebook regarding Facebook’s moves in improved translation technology. Shoshan said that Facebook’s acquisition of Mobile Technologies will help the company improve the translation features on mobile, noting that roughly 70 percent of Internet users aren’t English speakers:

From what we see, this is probably more of a mobile play than a translation play. At the end of the day, you have to distinguish between a human translation, which is used in a more business environment, and a machine translation, which is used for things that are too easy or are not as important as business-related translations.

Shoshan feels that more major companies will start investing in human translation, especially as Facebook grows internationally and fanbases expand beyond American borders. As Facebook’s David Fischer recently explained, Facebook is growing fastest in places like Japan, Brazil, Indonesia and Dubai, where English is definitely not the dominant language. Shoshan said that companies who want to stay ahead of the curve will look into translation services to better serve international Facebook fans and customers:

At some point, they’ll get to realize that they’ll have to communicate with these guys in their language. It would look strange for an American customer if, say, Toyota was to communicate with them in Japanese, but this is actually the case in some companies. I’m glad to see more companies realize that they need to contact the customer in their language.

Readers: How do you engage with Facebook fans who speak a different language from your own?

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