More than 450 Polish-speaking users on Facebook chose to be part of the effort to translate the site from English to Polish. Users who added the Facebook translation application were allowed to submit translations inline while browsing the site. The community then approved all translations through a voting system.
My first thoughts are that the results of this translation are very natural and usable, even for a non-native speaker like myself. Congratulations to the team! The selection of terms for words like “poke” and “wall” feel right, much like they do in English.
Unfortunately, a some of my Greasemonkey scripts that depend on Facebook content stopped working, including a cool script that highlights todays birthdays. Facebook developers, including those making apps and scripts, are going to have to deal with internationalising (i18n) and localising their applications.
If you’re curious what it looks like, scroll to the very bottom of your Profile page or Newsfeed page (if you’re an American or Canadian user), and you’ll see a little link that says “English” with an arrow beside it. Click the arrow, and behold the available options: Norsk, Deutsch, Francais, and more.
Why not use English?
My cousin and I changed the language to Polish just for the novelty of it. So far, I have kept it the language setting simply because it’s a nice, daily way to interact with elements of my culture that I otherwise have little access to. Only after a few days use, Facebook in English feels a little less comfortable, and a little less interesting.