Andy Atkins-Kruger

Facebook faces Chinese market with Chinese interface

A fascinating experiment in internet culture has been launched by Facebook who have localised their interface to the Chinese markets. As the Chinese markets are very concerned about ‘face’ – how will they cope with a ‘face’ book that means that even people you don’t know are described as friends.

This means that Facebook is available in Catalan, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, and Taiwanese.

Facebook has adopted the same approach Google used to localise its interface for different markets by asking for volunteers to do the work. According to their translations community forum, 63 languages in total are currently open for translation with support coming soon for right-to-left languages including Arabic, Divehi, Persian, Syriac, Urdu and Yiddish.

But can the local ‘culture’ cope with the Facebook phenomenon? That is the big question. There are already a great many social networking sites in many countries which clearly respond to local culture as they are ‘home grown’. Do people need to network with people in other languages they don’t speak? And can the Facebook format – which is more complex than Google’s, truly respond to the challenges ahead? Watch this space.

Souce: Guardian Online

Andy Atkins-Kruger
Andy is the CEO of Webcertain. He is a trained linguist with 20 years experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. Webcertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world, writes for the Multinational Search column of SearchEngineLand.com and is the Managing Editor of the Multilingual Search blog.

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