Facebook has released free technology that will let web developers automatically translate their sites into a variety of languages, as long as those sites use Facebook Connect.
Translations for Facebook Connect is based on the Translations application that the company made available in January 2008, when it invited its users around the world to help translate the social-networking site into their own languages.
On Wednesday, the company said any site using the Facebook Connect single sign-on service would be able to integrate the new tool to let each of their users view the site in their own language.
"Translating your website to tailor its content to an international audience can be expensive, time consuming and complicated," Cat Lee of the Facebook platform team blogged on Wednesday. "Today… we are announcing Translations for Facebook Connect to help solve this problem for other websites and applications."
Facebook itself is now available in 65 languages, less than two years after the launch of the Translations application, Lee wrote. Translations for Facebook Connect, which will translate websites as well as IFrame and FBML-based applications, supports all these languages.
Giving an example of the tool's potential, Lee wrote that "country tourist boards or travel sites that want to attract foreign visitors on holiday can use this framework to translate their sites and automatically present the content to users in their native language after they log in with Facebook Connect".
"After you choose what languages you want your site or application to support, you can get help from the Facebook community to translate your site, as we did, or you can do the translation yourself, or make a specific person the administrator of the process," Lee wrote.
Facebook Connect is one of several single sign-on initiatives that are jostling to win broad acceptance across the web. Rivals authentication standards include OpenID — Facebook unexpectedly joined the board of the OpenID Foundation in February — OAuth and OpenSocial.
Google also has a similar service in the form of Friend Connect, which itself gained translation capabilities earlier this year.