How do you “poke” someone in German? Facebook users decided the right word is “anklopfen.”
Facebook will launch in German tomorrow, thanks to 2,000 users who’ve helped translate the site using an application that Facebook released a couple of months ago to a limited number of users. Supported languages include German, Spanish and French – more will presumably be coming after these versions are launched. User can set their language to German, and anyone who visits the site from a German speaking country will automatically see the site in German.
Users translate small bits of the site, and those translations are then voted on by other users until the process is complete. Spain launched last month, although only 1,500 users helped out there. The French version is basically done as well from what I’ve heard.
Facebook says they have about 1 million users from German speaking countries. That number will likely skyrocket now that they can read the site in their own language.
Application developers aren’t being left out of the party, either. Soon, Facebook says, they’ll make the same tools they’re using available to developers as well, and users can translate their Facebook applications.
Competitor MySpace takes a much different approach to localized sites. They tend to put a team on the ground locally (they are now hiring in Turkey) and then build the site not only in the local language, but promote local artists and other popular culture as well. MySpace now has offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Sydney, Mexico City, Sao Palo, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Tokyo, and Beijing. Offices will be opening up soon in Mumbai, Moscow, and Istanbul.