Facebook social networking now ‘bil-Malti: x’qed tahseb?’

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As of last Friday the Facebook social networking site has been expanded to the Maltese language, taking the number of languages Facebook’s 1.7 billion subscribers can choose from to 101.

The ‘What's on your mind?’ status has been translated to ‘X’qed tahseb’, the ‘Like’ button has become ‘Toghgobni’, Comment has become ‘Ikkummenta and ‘Share’ has beentranslated to ‘Ixxerja’.

It is not just these popular, interactive features have been translated into Maltese. Once a user changes Facebook’s language settings, the entire page – every word, phrase and feature – will be automatically translated into Maltese.

The Maltese language was added to Facebook along with Pulaar (a dialect of Fula spoken by some seven million people across West and Central Africa), and Corsican (spoken by some 200,000 people and listed on UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger).

The Maltese version will undoubtedly be a hit, as the Maltese have a seemingly insatiable thirst for the social network. In fact, they are among Facebook’s most avid users on a per capita basis.

Facebook's director of internationalization Iris Orriss said this week, “As the number of languages grow, the number of people on Facebook also grow.”

The goal is to eventually translate Facebook into all the languages requested by Facebook users. More than 40 more languages are currently in the process of being translated.

“A lot of passionate people feel strongly about having Facebook in their language,” Ms Orriss said.

Human-powered translation is critical to Facebook's growth. More than one billion of the 1.7 billion people who use Facebook speak a language other than English. That number undoubtedly will increase as more people connect to the Internet.

Back in 2007, Facebook was only available in English, a significant barrier to Facebook's stated mission of connecting every person on the planet. A hackathon at Facebook produced a community translation tool that let users translate the service into their native tongues. The tool released in 2008 asks native speakers to submit translations of phrases and then solicits their votes on which is the most accurate.

“It's almost like a democratic process to find the best version of Facebook in that language,” Ms Orriss said.

To change your Facebook page to Maltese, go to the dropdown menu at the top right corner of the page, choose Settings, then Language and choose Maltese from the dropdown list of languages. Then simply save your changes.

Source: independent.com.mt

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