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How Facebook’s automatic translations can expand the reach of your content marketing

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is now translating content for 800 million users every month.

Alan Packer, the company’s director of engineering for language technology, told MIT’s Emtec Digital event in San Francisco this week that automatic translation was now playing a huge role in expanding the reach of Facebook’s content.

The translator function is currently translating two billion messages, posts or comments per day, across 40 different languages and in 1,800 directions (for example English to Italian or Italian to French).

Speaking to the TechCrunch blog after his presentation, Packer explained: “The mission of the translation team is removing language as a barrier to making the world more open and connected.”

According to its own figures, Facebook has 1.09 billion daily active users, which means that almost 80 per cent of users are using the automatic language translator.

Any comments or posts appearing in a language other than what has been selected in the user’s Facebook settings will have an option to “see translation” under the text. Users are also offered to rate the quality of the translation.

The translator function has the potential to revolutionise the way people interact with each other, all over the world. With the ability to view posts and comments across all languages with a click of a button, this removes a major barrier of communication for people and brands.

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What does this mean for your brand?

Given that users can now view content in languages other than their own, they may now become more interested in other company pages or posts shared by overseas friends. Any brand with a Facebook presence can now extend their target market beyond those who are only communicating in the same language.

It is well known that Facebook is a highly valuable tool for companies wanting to connect with their audience, and now that one major barrier has been mostly removed this opens up more marketing opportunities.

Brands may want to consider adapting their current content marketing strategy to account for not just a local audience, but the possibility of interest from other nations and cultures as well.

Google Translate also providing for universal communication

Automatic translation is nothing new of course. Google Translate has been around for more than a decade and is now embedded a number of Google services, including Gmail.

Google has invested heavily in translation services and says it can now translate 103 languages.

Google Translate is accessible on both mobile and desktop, online or offline, and is also available as a smartphone app.

The website demonstrates how the tool functions in ways other than translating from typed text. Users can also speak into their device, write on a touch screen, or take a photo (road signs, restaurant menus etc). For businesses, Google offers an API integration for automatic translation of website content.

Advanced technology such as this from giant corporations such as Google and Facebook is opening up many avenues for not just person to person interaction but for how businesses can connect with their target market.

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Amber Denny About the author