hi5 launched the first 10 of its user-driven translations today in a push to reach a wider audience. Even though hi5's numbers in the U.S. are relatively low, it is already the third-largest social network worldwide and has a strong presence in Latin America and Europe. Just like Facebook crowdsourced some of its translations, hi5 also relied on its users to localize the user interface and to rate these translations. As hi5 supports the OpenSocial platform, developers will also be able to access these translation tools to localize their own applications.Social network
The 10 new languages on hi5 are Catalan, Danish, British English, Finnish, Hindi, Macedonian, Slovakian, Spanish (Mexico and Colombia), and Swedish. Hi5 expects to support over 60 languages within the next 3 months, including Albanian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Croatian, Maltese, Norwegian, Serbian, and Spanish variants for Peru and Venezuela.
Crowdsourcing translations is a natural fit for a social network. At the same time, though, it does come with some pitfalls, including a higher chance of inconsistencies and sub-par translations.
For a site like hi5, which has seen most of its growth outside of the U.S., being able to provide its users with a localized version is simply a smart business move. Facebook, after all, lost a lot of its potential market share to clones in some countries because it did not offer localized versions of its service.