In the future, what language you speak won’t matter. That’s what Facebook wants to believe anyway—the company has been working for years to master automatic, comprehensive translation of all the content on the site, so you can appreciate every Facebook post regardless of language.
Until humans are able to work in perfect synchronicity with our A.I. translators, though, we’re going to have to do some work ourselves. Facebook today is announcing that they’re testing a new tool for multilingual users: the ability to manually edit the translations of their posts. They can select a different language that their post will be potentially translated into, and then fine-tune based on exactly what they want to say.
This feature is important because, for machines, language is messy and tough to understand. There are dozens of variations for even the simplest of phrases, and one can used over another simply due to preference. Like most new Facebook features, the custom translations will doubtlessly inform how their machine learning translates in the future. It could be slang, which Facebook has tried to tackle on a smaller scale before, or just how multilingual users colloquially choose their words.
Facebook is beginning to test this feature with users today, meaning for once you’ll have more control over the machine than the machine has over you.