Pinterest is looking to expand internationally. But can the popular image-sharing site beat the well-established network of Pinterest clones already sweeping the world?

On the Pinterest official blog, the company put out a request for volunteer translators to help add foreign-language support to the network. Pinterest hopes to first expand into French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish, but then to dozens of other languages.

“At Pinterest, we’ve always wanted to make it easy for people all over the world to organize and share all the beautiful things they find on the web.  We want to take another step towards making this vision a reality by translating Pinterest into other languages."

Volunteers can fill out a Google survey about their language expertise if they’re interested.

The practice of recruiting unpaid community translators isn’t unusual. When private social network Path wanted to integrate foreign languages, it too looked inward for translators, as did Twitter.

But waiting until now to recruit translators means Pinterest is late to its own party. Inspired by the network’s success—and its readily available imitation code—thousands have created Pinterest clones for every topic.

Germany’s Sawyer brothers created a Pinterest for Europe, likely in the hopes that Pinterest would buy them out. At our last count, there were three Pinterest clones in Asia. (Now there are at least 20 in China alone.) A Pinterest clone directory lists more than 100 different clones all over the world.

In order to beat the competition, Pinterest is either going to have to write a whole lot of cease-and-desist letters or finally come out of beta. Some users opt for European clones like Pinspire, for example, simply because it’s open to everyone. (After two years, Pinterest is still invitation only.)

Here's hoping Pinterest doesn't get lost in translation. 

Photo by Satoru Kikuchi