The Internet is an international, multilingual place, and although English is the lingua franca of international business and communication, it’s still important to make it easy for people who don’t speak English to stay in touch with you. This is especially true on Facebook, where posts can travel between countries very quickly, and people who speak a wide variety of languages can see them in a matter of seconds.
You could rely on Facebook’s built-in translation feature to communicate with those people, but as with any online translation service, you’re never going to get great results. For example, in this post on my timeline, the original Spanish is “Esto si que es confiar en tu amo!”, which is translated as “This if it’s to trust your master!”
A very strange translation. A better one would be “This is (truly) how you trust your love” (which still sounds weird, but communicates the idea more accurately). After seeing this, you should be worried about letting Facebook do the translating on your posts.
Fortunately, you can now include your own translations of post on your Pages, giving you greater control over how your post is received.
Why Post in Multiple Languages?
There are a lot of people who will find this new option very useful. The first and most obvious use case for multilingual Facebook posts is multi-national corporations who have customers and partners all over the world—the kinds of companies that know that they have first-language speakers of many languages seeing their posts every day. Instead of relying on Facebook to translate or worse, not translating at all, these companies can now just include multiple languages in the same post.
Many international companies also run a large number of different Facebook pages that communicate in different languages—this could potentially help those companies consolidate at least some of their Facebook properties, making management of their social media marketing campaigns that much simpler.
But it’s not just these massive multi-nationals that will benefit. Even smaller companies in countries that have a number of first languages—Switzerland, Belgium, and Canada come to mind—could better serve their clients by posting in multiple languages. Accurate and effective communication is crucial in establishing a successful Facebook presence, and not having to worry about weird Facebook translations will help a lot of companies around the world.
There are some really popular Facebook pages out there that aren’t run by multinational companies, too, and many of these pages could benefit from this feature. Hobbyist communities could be better served by Facebook pages with multilingual posts, for example.
Individuals, too, can take advantage of this new possibility: expatriates living in countries that speak a language other than their first will be able to better communicate with all of their contacts, no matter which language they speak.
Unfortunately, multilingual posts are only available from Facebook Pages at the moment, so you won’t be able to use them in your personal posts, but that possibility may be coming in the near future.
How to Make Multilingual Posts in Facebook Pages
To get started posting to Facebook in multiple languages, you’ll need to enable multilingual posts in your Page settings.
Hit Settings in the top-right corner of your Page, and you’ll see a long list of different options in General tab (you’ll only see these options if you have admin privileges on your Page; editor privileges won’t let you change this setting). Scroll down until you see Post in Multiple Languages.
Hit Edit, check the box, and click Save Changes. That’s all there is to it!
Make a Facebook Post in Multiple Languages
Now that you’ve enabled multilingual posting in the settings, you’ll see a new option in the text box where you type your updates; once you click Write something…, another option will appear. Click Write post in another language, and you’ll see another text box below the first one where you can select and enter the post in a second language.
Want to add a third language? Click Write post in another language again. You can do this for a large number of languages (I haven’t been able to find a limit; it’s possible that there isn’t one).
Now, when someone sees your post, they’ll be given the option to select a dropdown menu and view the post in any language that you’ve made available.
Simplifying Your Social Media Presence
The option to post a single update in multiple languages will help a lot of companies and individuals around the world simplify their social media process as well as make it more effective. The more people you can communicate with, the better! And using someone’s first language is sure to earn you some appreciation.
Of course, you’ll have to make sure that you’re using good translations—don’t rely on an online translation service (even Google Translate). It’s really obvious when you do, and the translations are often terrible. Make sure a native or near-native speaker is helping you out with your translations to make sure you benefit from this feature, or find a freelance translator to do it for you (these sites for freelance writers and coders will work just fine).
Will you use multilingual posts on your Facebook page? Would you find them useful on your personal page? Can you think of any other good uses of this feature? Share your thoughts below!