Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, so it may come as a surprise to some that up until early 2008, it didn’t offer any localized versions of the site at all. The company managed to jumpstart its international presence with an application fittingly called Translations, which took the time-consuming and costly task of translating the site and crowd-sourced it, asking the network’s millions of users to lend a hand.
The process proved to be very efficient: Facebook launched a Spanish site in Feburary 2008, only a few weeks after unveiling the app, and by June it had support for 16 more languages. It’s now up to over 60, including right-to-left reading languages like Hebrew. And now, Facebook is trying to patent the process that helped turn it into an international goliath.
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