Millions of Facebook users will soon be able to connect with more people around the world by sharing their posts and comments in multiple languages.
The world's largest social networking site announced that its own developers have built a multilingual composer. The tool enables users to compose a single post that will appear in multiple languages. Other users will see that post in their preferred language.
"People use Facebook to share information and ideas in many different languages," the Facebook team wrote in a blog post.
"In fact, 50 per cent of our community speaks a language other than English and most people don't speak each other's languages, so we're always thinking about ways we can help remove language as a barrier to connecting on Facebook".
A user test has already started and anyone in the test group can enable the multilingual composer by going to the Language section of their Account Settings. The composer, Facebook noted, is only available for desktops now, but others can view the multilingual posts across all platforms.
According to Facebook, while the site is just beginning to test the service with individual users, they began testing it with pages earlier this year.
The "multilingual composer," as the feature is called, allows you to write a post in one language and then choose additional languages in which you would like it to be published. If you write a post in English but publish it in Spanish, for example, any of your friends or followers who use Facebook in Spanish would see that Spanish translation of your post.
The new composer, which will work for all permutations of the 45 languages Facebook currently translates, is beginning to roll out.
A new feature uses automatic translation software to help people post Facebook updates in multiple languages at the same time. Users viewing a post made that way are shown the version most likely to be readable to them in light of their own past language use and settings.
The new feature is also designed to provide Facebook with valuable new data to help its translation software convert slang and other colloquial language from one language to another. That could improve the company's automatic translations of short posts and comments from friends not using your language.
"The multilingual-post option that starts rolling out today was inspired by the fact that many people already write posts in multiple languages. But they had to either write multiple versions of a message in one post or create separate posts strategies that tend to reduce the chance anyone would respond," said Fazil Ayan, who leads work on Facebook's translation software.
Language, according to Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, continues to be the barrier that separates people the most. This new artificial intelligence-driven tool could help break down that wall.
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