Facebook is a global village. It is quite possible to have friends from different countries who sometimes post status updates in their native language.
That's a problem if you don't understand the language but want to know what the status update is about.
It is possible to copy and paste those status updates to online translation services like Google Translate to translate them to another language which is fine as long as it does not turn into a regular thing.
A more comfortable option in this case is a translate option directly on Facebook and the Firefox add-on Facebook Translate offers exactly that.
The Firefox extension is not as flexible as general add-ons that bring Google Translate functionality to all pages on the Internet. Still, the add-on integrates nicely into Facebook and uses the Google Translate api for all translations.
The add-on places a translate link beneath each Facebook status post. It is in the same line that lists the comment, like and share links.
A click on translate replaces the original text on Facebook with the translated text created by Google Translate. This happens almost instantly and without page reloads.
The translations are not the best, and may make little sense in some cases. Still, some users may feel that this is better than not understanding the status update information at all. The translate link changes to untranslate to replace the translation with the original text again.
The default language that all texts get translate to is English. This can be changed in the add-on's options. A browser restart is required after making the changes. It is not clear why the restart is needed.
There are several alternatives to Facebook Translate, including the Greasemonkey userscript Google Translate Tooltip which can perform translations on all pages, not just Facebook, a Google Chrome Translate plugin or gTranslate for Firefox. All have in common that they are not restricted to just Facebook.
Facebook Translate for Firefox is available for download from the Mozilla Firefox add-on repository and compatible with all recent versions of the Firefox web browser.
Update: The developer seems to have switched from using Google Translate to Bing Translate.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.