For a number of months every time I log into Facebook (or at least it seemed that way) Facebook would add a call for help with translation into my news feed. I think most of my readers are aware that I live in Poland, though those details are not directly available to Facebook, unless they look at my phone number.
Thus they are most likely targeting me with the message using some kind of IP delivery – looking at which country or region my IP address originates in, and as I use a Polish ISP, they sometimes give me information in Polish.
After you switch display language, it looks a little like this
Facebook was translated using crowd sourcing – to be honest I am not sure it is the best option – it is certainly the cheap option, and gives users some additional sense of ownership which can encourage brand loyalty, but I am not convinced it is the best option.
I am not a native Pole, in fact my linguistic skills are a source of constant frustration for my Polish wife and her family.
Whilst Facebook clearly state the translations are for information purposes only, I shouldn’t be able to pick up glaring translation flaws in a matter of minutes, within headlines… just scanning pages.
Note:- whilst in the games industry one of the roles I performed was coordinating the localization of over 100 SKUs from English to Polish, and occasionally translation Polish > English but that was often more like rewriting the manuals
Here is an example from the terms and conditions
Hmm, definitions and constructions… referring to grammatical definitions and constructions
Unfortunately “Remonty” in Polish means “Renovation” and unlike other similar words, is never used for anything to do with grammar.
The following alternatives would be suitable.
Definicje i Konstrukcje
Definicje i Budowa (zdaÅ„)
Google Translate Does It Better
Plugging the same phrase into Google Translate, which recently added support for Polish gives much better results than were achieved using crowd sourcing.
Google Translate isn’t perfect by any means, it needs to expand the dictionary considerably, and probably include specific thematic dictionaries, but recently I have used it to translate from Polish to English for friends and family with reasonable success.
I expect such blunders from professionals translating from their native language into a foreign language, but from such a huge company using crowd sourcing on a large scale, with professional management, I expected much better.
There are other bugs, along with a sense that they didn’t include a solution to take into consideration gender.
Facebook isn’t an open source project with limited resources.