Do you speak my language?

I noticed a really interesting new tool on Facebook today, and I’m not often impressed by Facebook at the moment.

Translate This link on Facebook
Translated Facebook Status Update BingAfter

Amusing automatic translation on Facebook

It appears that when a Page (not a User Profile) posts an update to their wall, readers will see an option appearing below offering a translation.

[I’m not entirely sure how it decides this, but presumably it checks the language of the text and compares it to the default on the machine you are using.]

Most importantly ALL Pages have been opted IN automatically (typical Facebook!) so you are using this already if you have a Page active and you should therefore know about it.

When this was launched a month ago it was only for a few languages (Korean, Japanese, Russian, Taiwanese and Chinese-Hong Kong), but as of very recently (today?) it seems to work for Italian, Spanish & Portuguese into English, so I assume a lot more languages are now available.

It even appears to work in the comments to be able to continue the discussion.

Benefits of using a Page

Making your content available to users who may potentially be interested, but who do not speak the language you prefer to write in, means that a great deal of interesting wine content can now spread around the world.

The big question will be the quality. The post I saw this morning was from Spanish to English and was perfectly adequate, but others have reported that the tool (supplied by Bing in this case) is not particularly effective. Interestingly, there is an option for users to install a Translation App which allows you to submit a modified translation. The Page Admin then, presumably, gets the option to approve and select the best translation, however when I tested it this morning, this process seems a bit complex and will need some refining.

I expect the quality of translations will improve over time. Mechanical translations have been available for some time, but often meant browser plugins or copy & pasting text. Now admins can use the tool to publish content quickly, so it could mean a lot more content is suddenly available.

Just one more reason that brands, wineries and businesses should remember to use a Page for their communications and NOT a fake user Profile page. You have been warned!


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About Robert

Robert McIntosh is a wine blogger and online communicator on and, a prolific twitterer (@thirstforwine) as well as speaking at wine events. Robert is co-organiser of the annual Digital Wine Communications Conference, promotes international online wine communication, and advises companies about how to engage through social media. Robert also has some trouble communicating in the third person.