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Facebook Transliteration & Translation Greasemonkey Scripts


Facebook recently organized their first ever 24-hour hackathon at Georgia Tech - the first of a total of 5 such events at campuses across the USA. Check out for pics and more information. These scripts constitute what I, Nadu, Manohar and Params came up with as our hack submission.

Note: This is, quite literally, a hack! It may not work perfectly, if at all! We can't be held liable for any weird translations you think you might be seeing in your news feed!

On a more positive note, we do plan to try and polish and clean up the scripts so things can only get better.


We've seen a bunch of people on Facebook who post in their language but not in their script. To give you an example, an Indian student greeting a friend might type in 'Kaisa hai, yaar?' instead of 'कैसा है, यार?'. And it quite obvious why - a) Most people only have English keyboards and b) Most people are used to typing in English, even if they're thinking in another language.


On the flip side, when people are able to post in their own language, their linguistically-challenged friends will probably not be able to tell what it is they want to say. Of course, you could copy every post that you think might be interesting and find some translation engine, get your text translated and find out that your time would've been better spent browsing cows that you can buy on Farmville!

Google Language API

Now, Google has a pretty neat transliteration service that works with a bunch of Indic and other languages. They also have a translation service. Both are free and can be accessed via Ajax APIs.

Our hack was to let millions of multi-cultural Facebook users take advantage of these services with simple scripts for Greasemonkey. So you can now type away and see your text automatically get transliterated!

And when you come across posts from friends who've been using our script, you can figure what it is they're saying, even if you don't speak their language!

How Do I Use Them?

These scripts work for any Facebook page (the Greasemonkey script runs for URLs of the form http://** and https://**).

To use the Greasemonkey script with Firefox, you'll need to install the Greasemonkey extension; Chrome 4 supports Greasemonkey scripts natively. Once you've done that, download the scripts (facebooktransliterate.user.js and facebooktranslate.user.js) from here and here.

Once the script is installed, you'll need to refresh any Facebook pages you may already have open, but other than that, it will load automatically.