Facebook, the hugely popular social networking site, will kick off an international push on Monday with the launch of a Spanish version.
The Spanish language home page will be the default page shown to Internet users accessing the site from a Spanish-speaking country. The change will be immediately obvious to the roughly 2.8 million Facebook members in Spain and Latin America but any user will be able to choose between the English or Spanish interface in their account settings.
Versions in German and French are promised for the coming weeks, the Palo Alto, California, company said in a statement.
To translate the site the company used its own social networking skills and turned to its users.
A Facebook translation application was created that allowed users to submit their own translations while browsing the site. The translations were then approved by the community, which was about 1,500 people strong. The entire effort took about a month and ended up with phrases like "dar un toque" as the Spanish version of Facebook-speak "poke."
Facebook said it will soon open up the translation application to developers so that they can harness the power of the community to translate their own applications.