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New Facebook Messenger feature will automatically translate messages

Translation will initially only be supported in English and Spanish, although Facebook is said to be working on more languages.

Published onJune 22, 2018

Facebook Messenger
  • Facebook Messenger users will soon be able to get automatic translations of messages received on the service.
  • Facebook is rolling out the feature to users in the U.S. and Mexico.
  • The service will initially only be able to translate between English and Spanish.

Facebook is bringing automatic translation to messages sent on its Messenger platform. According to CNET, the translation is part of the M Suggestions feature that is already built into Messenger. It will be rolled out to all users in the U.S. and Mexico, but will initially only be able to translate messages in English and Spanish.

When a user whose default language is English receives a message in Spanish, they will automatically receive a popup asking if they want messages from that person to be translated. If the user selects yes, all future messages will be auto-translated in that conversation. The feature will also work the other way round for users with Spanish as the default setting receiving messages in English. Users will receive both the translated and the original message, presumably to avoid confusion.

M Translations

Facebook announced the translation feature at its F8 developer conference in April. Initially, it was only available on Facebook Marketplace.  The fact that Facebook has expanded the feature to Messenger so soon after appears to suggest the company is happy with how the initial roll out went.

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Translations are currently only supported between English and Spanish. However, according to CNET, Facebook said it plans to add other languages and countries in the future.

For now, users who want to translate text within Messenger from other language pairings will have to make do with copy and pasting to a translation app, or a service such as Google Translate’s Tap To Translate. Tap to Translate makes it easy and quick to translate text without having to leave whichever app it is that you are using. Although, perhaps not quite as easy as having Messenger do everything automatically.

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