Facebook to be translated into 10 more languages, says Zuckerberg

‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’. This is one of the favourite quotes of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

With about 18 million people connected to the social media network, Facebook in Nigeria and 1.71 billion monthly active users all over the world, plans are underway to translate Facebook into 10 more languages within the next 18 months. Early this year, the Facebook team in Africa was given the mandate to translate into Hausa language, bringing the number of languages Facebook can be seen in to five – English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Hausa.

Speaking at a Town Hall session with website developers in Landmark Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday; founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said people were most likely to communicate better when they understood the language of communication.

“We realized that people find it easier to connect in languages they understand. If you don’t understand a language, you are not likely to connect to what is being said in that language, so we decided to give our team here the power to translate into Hausa. We hope to reach out to 10 other languages in about a year and a half,” he said.

Zuckerberg came into Nigeria on Tuesday when he visited the Co-Creation Hub (Cchub) innovation centre in Lagos. He also stopped over at Andela, a software developer accelerator, which the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (founded by him and his wife) invested $24million earlier this year.

For the Facebook boss,the trip to Nigeria was all about listening, learning and understanding the challenges facing technological startups.

In May, Facebook announced a partnership with Airtel, called Internet.org Free Basics (which was rejected in India), allowing Nigerians to access certain internet services free on mobile. According to Zuckerberg, ‘Free basics’ is live in 22 countries of the world presently.

Over the next 10 to 15 years, the Facebook team plans to reach virtually everyone in the world by building more infrastructures, reduce the cost of getting access to internet and information on the importance of the internet to people.

He said: “Many times when I am walking down the road, people walk up to me and tell me ‘Oh, I met my wife on Facebook and now, look at our child’ or stories of how a long-lost adopted parent was found, or twins separated in childhood who reunite through Facebook. All these are heartwarming stories and it shows just how Facebook has managed to make the world a lot smaller.”

“I am here in Nigeria now and miss my daughter a lot because she is with Priscilla’s mum. When I get pictures and videos of her on Facebook, I am really happy and it makes the distance not so much anymore. So these are some of what we have been able to do with Facebook.”


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