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Facebook to get lost (or found) in translation? Signs point to 'oui'

Rumors are heating up that the social-networking site is working hard to translate its site into multiple languages, a tactic it will need in the competitive social media sector.

The Financial Times reported on Sunday that Facebook is working to make its rabidly popular social-networking site available in languages other than English. It's been known for quite some time that translation has been on the company's radar as it expands beyond its U.S. roots--executives have mentioned it amorphously in speeches and panels--so there is very little "real news" here other than the fact that the Financial Times story indicates that there may be evidence that this translation project is a major priority.

Nevertheless, Facebook has been unclear about timing, and has not released any kind of official "coming soon" teaser like it has with the advent of custom profiles.

Add this to the fact that we have heard rumors that Facebook has quietly plastered some fliers around the Stanford University campus asking for student volunteers to help with translation efforts in various languages.

Facebook still lags behind rival MySpace in internationally-targeted features: the News Corp.-owned social-networking site operates more than a dozen region-specific sites, some in English and some in other languages. Additionally, long-shot rival Friendster launched a Traditional Chinese version last week, a move geared toward its Asia-centric user base.