Facebook offers French language version

By : |March 9, 2008 0

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Facebook has begun offering a French language version of the popular social network site, joining the Spanish and German language versions the company introduced over the past month, it said on Sunday.

Facebook relied on French-speaking members of the site to translate the site to French from English, as it has done with previously launched Spanish and German versions.

Facebook has enjoyed spectacular international growth in the past year, despite being published only in English until recently.

Roughly 60 per cent of Facebook’s more than 67 million users live outside the US.

France is the sixth most active country on Facebook, while Canada, with its own sizable French-speaking population, is third.

The US is No. 1, followed by Britain, Canada, Turkey, Australia, France, then Sweden, Norway and Colombia.

The Silicon Valley-based company was founded in 2004 as a social site for students at Harvard University and spread quickly to other colleges and eventually into work places.

Its popularity stems from how the site conveniently allows users to share details of their lives with selected friends online.

As the company releases new features, Facebook has said it plans to rely on volunteers to help it translate the site into non-English languages, borrowing a strategy popularized by Wikipedia, the anyone-can-edit Web encyclopedia.

Users who added the Facebook translation application were allowed to submit translations online while browsing the site. Facebook users then approved all translations through a voting system, the Palo Alto, California-based company said.

Facebook members who wish to use the site in French, German or Spanish can now change languages in their account settings to those languages.

Anyone who signs onto Facebook from a French-speaking country automatically sees the site in French.

Facebook is playing catch-up in terms of languages to rival News Corp’s MySpace, which has national sites in more than 20 countries.

MySpace offers versions of its site in Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, French, German and Italian, including a site for U.S. Spanish speakers and another for French Canadians.

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