On July 1, Facebook announced that it will soon make it possible for users to post in multiple languages using a new automatic translation feature.
According to the company’s announcement, using the feature, called a “multilingual composer”, you will be allowed to write a post in one language and then choose additional languages in which you would like it to be published.
In essence, you could write a post in English but publish it in Spanish (for example) and any of your friends or followers who use Facebook in Spanish would see that Spanish translation of your post.
The new composer, which will work for all permutations of the 45 languages Facebook currently translates, began roll out on July 1, so should be active already.
Facebook began testing the feature earlier this year with owners of business pages. According to Facebook, about 5,000 of these business pages have tried the composer, and their posts receive 70 million views daily.
Of those, 25 million posts are viewed in a secondary language and even that does not figure in people who see automatic translations of posts in their feed — 300 million people every day.
That is a decidedly greater reach and to activate the feature, you simply need to go to language preferences in your account settings and click “post in multiple languages.”
The company also said that data gathered from the multilingual composer will train Facebook’s natural-language processing models;
“This will not only help people communicate better across diverse groups that speak many languages, but will help train and improve our machine translation models as we gather new data in less common languages — moving us closer to the vision of removing language barriers across Facebook,”
If you do indeed speak multiple languages, you’ll have the ability to edit Facebook’s translations before you publish a multilingual post. As for which version of a multilingual post Facebook shows you, the company says it considers your language preference, where you’re posting from, and which language you usually post in.