Since 2008 Facebook has been “crowdsourcing” the translation of their website to Facebook users. Crowdsourcing is outsourcing a task to the general public or “crowd” and Facebook does this through their translation app. Since then over 300,000 Facebook users have helped translate Facebook into 70 different languages.
Facebook members first translate key Facebook phrases from English into whichever language they choose. These are short sentences like,
Once all those phrases have been completed, users can then vote up the translations that they think are best and vote down the others. In this case the Magyar translation of the common “like” function.
There’s even a discussion forum where users can discuss which words and phrases work best. I read a very interesting discussion on whether or not; “poke”, “saluer” or “piquer” should be used as the French Canadian replacement for the classic Facebook action of “poking.”
This was another brilliant idea from Facebook, not only do they get their website translated for free by native translators, they also promote user engagement and investment in Facebook. By contributing to the development of Facebook, users gain a sense of ownership in Facebook.
While crowdsourcing can work well for translating short and simple phrases, when it comes to more technical language, a certified and degree holding translator should be used.