Facebook: how to publish a post in multiple languages

On Facebook, multilingual publication has disappeared in favor of automatic translation of posts.

At Facebook AI, researchers don’t have languages ​​in their pocket. © Thaspol – stock.adobe.com

With nearly 3 billion users around the world, Facebook has an international community that speaks many different languages. However, for brands, it is important to be able to communicate with their entire audience. But how to achieve this when the contacts do not express themselves in the same way?

The end of multilingual publication in favor of machine translation

In 2016, Facebook offered a feature that allowed publish a post on their profile or page in several languages. The option was activated in his account settings. Then, at the time of publication, a second field appeared, allowing the post to be written in one or more other languages. The user could read the message in the language set by default on his personal account.

Now, it is still possible to configure the option in the settings of his Facebook profile. However, the “Write post in another language” field has disappeared from Accounts and Pages. Indeed, Facebook seems to favor machine translation on its platform.

Thus, it is now sufficient to publish a post in the language of his choice and the social network will automatically translate the publication into the language selected by default on the user’s profile. For example, the community manager of a German brand publishes his posts in Goethe’s language. But a French Internet user will see it in the language of Molière.

How to set up automatic translation on Facebook?

Automatic translation of posts is enabled by default on Facebook. But you can refine some elements. Here’s how to do it:

  1. go to your account settings by clicking on the down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page,
  2. click on “Settings and Confidentiality”,
  3. select “Languages”.

In the section “Publications of friends and Pages”, 3 criteria are available:

  • language in which you would like to have the publications translated : Here you choose the language in which you want to read the publications in a foreign language.
  • languages ​​you don’t want a translation option for : this option allows you to select the languages ​​you do not want translated. It is useful if you are fluent in several languages. This feature also allows you to disable automatic translation on Facebook. But for that, you will have to select all the languages ​​that you can potentially cross on your account.
  • languages ​​that you do not want to have automatically translated : if you do not want your publications to be translated by Facebook.

The translation is then done in 2 ways: either it is automatic and the user sees the message directly in his language, or he must click on the “Translation” button which appears just below the publication.

M2M-100, Facebook’s multilingual machine translation model

Thanks to this automatic translation option, more than 20 billion posts that are translated every day on social network feeds. A real feat that was made possible thanks to the creation of an artificial intelligence capable of translating more than 100 languages ​​into 100 other languages. This multilingual translation machine or CMM (for multilingual machine translation in English) was named M2M-100. It was designed in open-source by Facebook AI, the social network’s research center in artificial intelligence.

Unlike other translation solutions, M2M-100 no longer needs to go through English to translate from one language to another. Until now, to translate from Mandarin to French, machines translated first from Mandarin to English, then from English to French. This method inevitably generated a loss of quality in the translation, which is no longer the case with M2M-100. Artificial intelligence has been trained in more than 2,200 linguistic directions. This is 10 times more than any other translation model.

The limits of machine translation

The stated goal of Facebook AI researchers is to offer a universal and unique translation model that can understand all languages, regardless of the context.

But translation remains a complex task, as does the study of languages. The results that can be read on Facebook are not quite the point, as this capture of the account of The time, the German daily. For brands, machine translation is a practical feature, but not high enough. The machine is not yet ready to replace humans.

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