Facebook User Growth team says translation was the 'greatest lever in getting to 500 million'

In a recent Quora answer to a question on how Facebook reached 500 million users, Andy Johns gave an in-depth look into the culture of growth at the company. Growth seems to be central to the company's strategy, with Johns going on to say that the localization of the site was 'the greatest lever' in obtaining the mass of users they accumulated.

Of course there are myriad other growth and retention tactics used that do not involve translation, but the ability of the majority of the world to access the site in their own language seems to have 'done the trick' for the folks about to float.

But what of their strategy? I questioned Johns on the crowdsourcing model, and he was good enough to reply, saying that their reliance on the community was not 100%, and that a team of professionals were editing and proofing crowdsourced translations. He also implied the sheer scale of crowdsourcing enabled them to turn around entire translated versions of the site in under 24 hours. I went on then to mention quality concerns and a few misconceptions around the task of translation.

The Q&A session is in the comments section if you'd like to read more.


Add new comment

Sharing license

This post is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license. We have done this to encourage translations into any language, with a credit link back to the original. Feel free to print and share copies in your business, school or university, or to publish your own translation, and be sure to let us know if you do!

We would like to actively discourage reposting it verbatim, at least not without a canonical link, to show search engines that this is the original post. An alternative way to use the post's information is to use it as a key source for a completely re-written post, still giving credit as per the license. Thanks for your understanding.

Get the latest on translation, freelancing and business.
(You'll also get our Translation Marketing Checklist)