Facebook Turns 1,500 Users Into Spanish Translation Slaves

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Facebook’s innovative approach to translating its site into various laguages – get the users to do all the work.

Users can ask to translate bits of the site, which are then voted on by other users until a good localized version is created. Users have been hard at work translating Facebook into German, Spanish and French.

Facebook says that the Spanish site was completed in less than four weeks and is based on the work of nearly 1,500 Spanish-speaking Facebook users. One user alone, though, was responsible for translating almost 3% of the site.Facebook has 2.8 million active users in Latin America and Spain.

Today Facebook opened up the Spanish version of the site. If you visit Facebook from a Spanish-prevalent country starting next week, the default language will be auto set to Spanish. Users can also change the default language to Spanish in their account settings.

Facebook takes a very different approach to localized sites than rival MySpace, which is opening up offices all over the world to serve those markets.