Facebook goes Deutsch

Now Germans can "anstupsen" their friends. A newly launched German-language version of the social networking website Facebook makes a Teutonic version of "poke" possible.

The social networking website Facebook announced on Monday that it’s now available in German. Anyone who accesses the site from a German speaking nation will automatically see the translated version unless their preferences are already set to English. Facebook’s statement called the new language option “another step towards internationalizing the site.”

“We’re really excited to bring German-speaking users the ability to access Facebook in their native language,” said Matt Cohler, vice president of product management in the statement. “We currently have over a million active users in German-speaking countries, and we look forward to making it even easier for them to connect and share information with family and friends.”

The translation of the Palo Alto, California-based site took less than two weeks, and was completed by some 2,000 German-speaking users who took part in a special application created by the site. The application allows for users to submit translations while browsing the site. Users then approve the suggested translations using a voting system created for the application. The popular though somewhat baffling “poke” application, for instance, has been translated to “anstupsen,” which means, “to nudge.”

Including English and Spanish, the addition of the German version of Facebook means the site is now available in three languages.

“Over 60 percent of Facebook users are now outside of the US, and many live in countries where English is not the primary language,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook in a February statement. “Our goal has always been to allow people to use Facebook in their native language so we built an application to enable users to participate in translating the site into their local languages and dialects.”

In January, German internet entrepreneurs and brothers Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer invested $10-$15 million in Facebook, making them the website’s only European investors. Among their other popular sites, the brothers helped found a similar networking site for German students called “studiV,” which they sold last year. According to wire service DPA, the brothers said they hope to use their influence and experience in Europe to support Facebook’s expansion.