Faces in the Crowd: Translation Crowdsourcing

April 12, 2011 by Alyssa Paris
Category: Crowdsourcing, Localization Tips, Top Ten

Crowdsourcing is hot. And not just in the tech world. The crowd is changing the face of the translation industry with every passing day. There’s even a buzz phrase for it: social localization.

Regina Bustamente from Guideware and Janice Campbell from Adobe recently gave a talk at the Acclaro San Francisco office on tips for making translation crowdsourcing projects successful. Here are a few highlights:

  • Faces in the crowdDepending on the nature of your products (consumer or enterprise, etc.) you are likely to have different user groups. Remember that open-source techies do not share the same skill sets with your followers on Facebook, for example. You will want to make sure and encourage collaboration within the right user group for a particular translation project.
  • Brand evangelists who are in situ (in-country) are among the most appropriate translators for the lingo and product-specific jargon you need translated. They will be more familiar with street speak than you are. Use this to your advantage.
  • Make contributors identify themselves – you don’t want this to be an anonymous collaboration. Identification will create a space of accountability.

Of Sweaters and Translations

knittingWith crowdsourcing being so much in the localization news lately, the concept of "consistency" has also frequently come up.

Consistency, along with quality, has been declared the victim of crowdsourcing by those opposed to using the "crowd" for localization. Promotors of crowdsourcing claim that consistency is a myth and not dependent on the number of people working on a project. I sometimes feel this is a false debate.

Yes, consistency is sacred to translators, but are they wrong, defensive, and antiquated?

A text is consistent if the same term is used to describe the same source term throughout the translation, and if the style applied to it is the same as well. Basically, a consistent text is one in which a reader cannot tell that it has been written or translated by more than one person.

Now, let's bring knitting into this debate.

Translators Give 'Voice' to Bloggers Worldwide

April 15, 2010 by Ana Yoerg
Category: Crowdsourcing

global voices logoAs reports of protests and violence in Thailand came streaming in over the past month I wasn't quite sure where to turn for on-the-ground, local coverage of the conflict. Despite having lived in the country as an expat some years ago, my language is not good enough to delve into Thai-only newspapers like Thai Rath, the Daily News, or Matichon's Khao Sod.

It's a common problem: many ex-expats and media hounds thirsty for insider knowledge into a country's current events feel frustrated when events erupt and they don't know what to read — or more specifically, what to believe.

Global Voices, a nonprofit organization based in The Netherlands and supported by a handful of marquee foundations and donors, is helping to solve that problem. It is a community of more than 200 bloggers around the world who — with the help of volunteer and part-time authors, editors, and translators — provide reports from areas of the world that may not have accurate or deep representation in Western media sources.

SuperPower Nation Day

March 19, 2010 by Ana Yoerg
Category: Crowdsourcing, Technology

twitter snapshot superpower nation dayThis week Twitter was ablaze with notifications about SuperPower Nation Day. When I first saw it, to be honest, I was completely confused. SuperWhat?

Turns out, it was a little experiment run by the BBC, a UK-based news organization, as part of its series of programs, online reports and events that examine the "super powers" of the internet.

How it worked: The BBC set up a special website to host comments and responses from people around the world, in their native language.

Google's machine translation software was used to translate each text into six different languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Persian, Indonesian and Spanish.

At the same time, representatives of the BBC's language services did live translations for those who called in by phone or attended the physical event. (View the complete transcript.)

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