Facebook took its Translations application and made it available free to developers. Facebook is extending an olive branch to the 15,000 Websites or apps that work with Facebook Connect. Facebook regularly offers new features for end users, which number more than 300 million and comprise the lifeblood of the social network. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a programmer himself and so it makes sense that his developer team has been increasingly getting cozier with programmers that want to write social applications.
Facebook Sept. 30 took its software tool for letting
users all over the world translate the social network into other languages and made
it available free to developers.
That tool, Translations for Facebook Connect, is based on
the Translations application Facebook released in January 2008 to let users
translate Facebook into more than 65 languages.
Website translation is a tough task at any level because
programmers have to account for several variables, such as strange phrases,
complex sentence structures and slang expressions.
In releasing the tool to
programmers to use for their own Website translations, Facebook is extending
an olive branch to the 15,000 Websites or apps that work with Facebook Connect
, which lets users bring their profile information and other
content outside of the social network.
Translations for Facebook Connect works juts like the
original Translations app. Users click on a phrase as they browse the Website
and vote on translations suggested by their peers or contribute their own. Translations
for Facebook Connect will translate 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,"
Facebook Connect programmer Cat Lee.
Developers can start using Translations for Facebook
Connect to translate Web sites or apps with an HTML file and a few lines of
Translations application by calling the intl.uploadNativeStrings API method, and
retrieve submitted and translated content through the intl.getTranslations API
method and translation FQL table.
Once content is registered for translation, the developer
and his or her Web site users can start translating the site's content just as
users helped translate Facebook. Lee recommends programmers read the
documentation on the Developer Wiki
which provides detailed instructions.
Facebook regularly offers new features for end users,
which number more than 300 million and comprise the lifeblood of the social network. But
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a programmer himself and so it makes sense that his developer team has been
increasingly getting cozier with programmers that want to write social
For example, Facebook scored major points with
programmers earlier this month after releasing
the Tornado Web server acquired
in the company's FriendFeed acquisition
to open source.
This is a smart move for a company that wants to serve as
the starting point from which programmers extend the social Web. Offering free a
translation tool is one way to help Facebook broaden its appeal to programmers
on the international stage. Ideally, these programmers will help extend
Facebook Connect to the masses with new applications.
In related news, Facebook today also released
the Facebook Connect Wizard
to let nonprogrammers connect to the service in three steps, and Playground for Facebook Connect,
which helps users add profile pictures, user names and friends to a Web site.