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Strange email about a "new service"
Thread poster: KateKaminski

KateKaminski
Local time: 10:33
German to English
Aug 2, 2015

I received a nice email this evening from someone I have never heard of, explaining all about a huge TM he is sharing with people for EUR 5. Would I like to buy it? Alternatively, I could actually have it for free if I register on his website. Out of curiosity, I went to look at this mysterious website.

I was greeted with a homepage full of photos of happy and excited professional translators who have joined the team and are using this wonderful, revolutionary new tool. And I must admit it sounds clever. Translators upload as much as possible of their previous work to the database. Their work and expertise is then analysed and they are matched with suitable clients, who send them new work. The more translations you upload, the more work you receive!

As I sat there looking at this information, the live updates reported that several translators had just uploaded 1000s of units! The place is buzzing, it seems.

Personally, I found this place a bit sinister. My two main issues:

1. What is this work translators are uploading? Don't they need to consider their clients' privacy? For instance, I translate a lot of confidential legal documents and would therefore be unable to contribute to this system.

2. Who owns the TMs once they are uploaded? Is this company aiming to create a huge TM which it can then, in the long run, use to create very cheap translations for its own clients? I would rather keep my translation work to myself and share it only with my paying clients.

Have you heard of this new service? What are your thoughts?


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:33
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
it's legit Aug 2, 2015

Hi Kate,

KateKaminski wrote:

I received a nice email this evening from someone I have never heard of, explaining all about a huge TM he is sharing with people for EUR 5. Would I like to buy it? Alternatively, I could actually have it for free if I register on his website. Out of curiosity, I went to look at this mysterious website.

I was greeted with a homepage full of photos of happy and excited professional translators who have joined the team and are using this wonderful, revolutionary new tool. And I must admit it sounds clever. Translators upload as much as possible of their previous work to the database. Their work and expertise is then analysed and they are matched with suitable clients, who send them new work. The more translations you upload, the more work you receive!

As I sat there looking at this information, the live updates reported that several translators had just uploaded 1000s of units! The place is buzzing, it seems.

Personally, I found this place a bit sinister. My two main issues:

1. What is this work translators are uploading? Don't they need to consider their clients' privacy? For instance, I translate a lot of confidential legal documents and would therefore be unable to contribute to this system.

2. Who owns the TMs once they are uploaded? Is this company aiming to create a huge TM which it can then, in the long run, use to create very cheap translations for its own clients? I would rather keep my translation work to myself and share it only with my paying clients.

Have you heard of this new service? What are your thoughts?


It's legit. See e.g.: https://cafetran.freshdesk.com/support/discussions/forums/6000137446

The content of your TMs is never revealed to anyone; it's just used for matching you with potential clients. There is also an optional feature that can remove any potentially confidential info from your TMs.

You retain ownership of your TMs and they will never be used for anything other than the aforesaid matching, or to access them in your CAT tool (currently only CafeTran, but SDL Studio integration if currently being worked on).

Michael


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Still sounds most unsavoury to me Aug 2, 2015

Particularly as they seem to have an extremely high profile here on the site.

I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole myself. One more nail in the coffin of hand-crafted translations if we sign up to it.


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 17:33
English to Indonesian
+ ...
It's actually a brilliant idea Aug 2, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole myself.


That's up to you, of course. But I think you miss the point. Your TMs and termbases cannot be used by other people, with the exception of a potential client who can only search all the resources to select a translator, based on their experience with the subject matter. And only for that reason. Uploading your resources has three advantages:

  • It may bring in work
  • You have a copy in the cloud
  • You (and only you) can leverage your uploaded resources

    And as Michael said, the latter from within your CAT tool, currently only CafeTran, more tools to follow.



    Cheers,

    Hans

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  • Kevin Dias
    Local time: 19:33
    SITE STAFF
    Your TMs are yours Aug 3, 2015

    Hi Kate,

    I'm the developer of TM-Town. I can't speak to the email you received without more details, but it sounds like it may have been an email from one of the sellers on the TM-Town Terminology Marketplace. Translators can sell glossaries they have created and some of the most popular so far have been files created by Henk Sanderson. Henk took the public IATE database and split it into language pairs and did a lot of cleaning to make it easy for translators to import into a CAT tool.


    explaining all about a huge TM


    The bolding above of your quote is mine. It is a fine point, but one that I think is important. On TM-Town there is an important distinction between TMs and glossaries. On TM-Town translators can not sell translation memories (TMs) or share TMs publicly. Translators can sell glossaries. This is an important distinction as their are important copyright differences between TMs and glossaries.


    1. What is this work translators are uploading? Don't they need to consider their clients' privacy? For instance, I translate a lot of confidential legal documents and would therefore be unable to contribute to this system.


    Any work that is uploaded on TM-Town is automatically private and secure. Only 3 pieces of data are made public (and there is the option to turn these off):
    1) The language pair(s) of the documents
    2) The number of translation units or term concepts
    3) The fields of expertise you tag the document with

    TM-Town also has a confidential information redaction tool: https://www.tm-town.com/blog/confidential-information-redactor. You can see a video of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8x1F-DYMWA. I built this feature as even though every document is private and secure, translators had expressed concerns similar to yours. Thus I thought this would be a great feature as TM-Town's matching algorithm is heavily focused on domain specific terminology and removing confidential information such as names, places, dates, numbers, emails or web addresses will not affect the ability of the algorithm to select the best translator for a job.


    2. Who owns the TMs once they are uploaded? Is this company aiming to create a huge TM which it can then, in the long run, use to create very cheap translations for its own clients? I would rather keep my translation work to myself and share it only with my paying clients.


    Your data is your data and I have tried to make the TM-Town Terms of Service as clear and fair as possible: https://www.tm-town.com/terms_of_service

    Specifically as it relates to your concerns I would highlight the following:
    By default, a translation memory ("TM") that you load into TM-Town is treated as follows:

    • It can be browsed online, and downloaded as a file, ONLY BY YOU. Other TM-Town users can not see or download it.

    • TM’s you upload can NOT be searched or leveraged by others.

    • TM’s you upload will NOT be sold or made public.

    • The results of fuzzy match or repetition calculations when comparing your documents against a potential document to be translated are strictly YOUR DATA and will never be shared or disclosed to a client or 3rd party (unless you choose to do so yourself).



    Additionally I would say that end clients (or LSPs) can message you directly through your public TM-Town profile. In this way you could use TM-Town and potentially get clients from TM-Town without ever "going through TM-Town". TM-Town does have the infrastructure to handle payments for you, but if a client messages you directly and you choose to work with them outside of TM-Town, that is fine too. The ultimate goal is to make it so easy, convenient and safe for you as a translator that you would prefer to have your clients just pay you through TM-Town. I don't think TM-Town is there yet, but I am working hard to get it there.

    TM-Town is still young and growing so I can not promise that you will get tons of work right away from the site. I'm working hard every day to grow it and I am also trying to build tools within the service that hopefully make TM-Town useful for translators (even if you don't get work right away).

    Thank you for your interest Kate and to you (or any translators reading this), I am happy to give a personalized demo of TM-Town. I can share my screen on Skype and show you different features. Just send me an email.

    Kevin

    [Edited at 2015-08-03 00:09 GMT]


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    Kevin Dias
    Local time: 19:33
    SITE STAFF
    My goal is the opposite Aug 3, 2015

    Hi Sheila,

    I understand your concern, but I would say that my goal is actually the exact opposite.


    Sheila Wilson wrote:
    One more nail in the coffin of hand-crafted translations if we sign up to it.


    One of the reasons I started TM-Town is that I saw a "dumbing down" and move to generalization where the message to people in need of translation seemed to focus on "cheaper and faster" and the goal of technology in the process was to connect the buyer to the person that could do it quick and cheap. Moreover, that "person" was probably faceless. You as the end client wouldn't know who actually did your translation. This was the direction I saw the industry slowly moving toward.

    If you look at TM-Town's mission statement (TM-Town's mission is to create a better translation world through technology and specialization.), you'll see the key word: specialization. I think the person best equipped to do a "hand-crafted translation" is a specialist in that language pair and field of expertise. TM-Town's goal is to connect the client to that specialist.

    Kevin


    [Edited at 2015-08-03 00:27 GMT]


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    TanjaO  Identity Verified
    Slovenia
    Local time: 11:33
    French to Slovenian
    + ...
    What is the use then Aug 3, 2015

    of uploading your TMs to the site? Perhaps a client or two in exchange for the website owner getting full access to all your language pairs, all your work nicely aligned, all your terminology, for free, and doing whatever they want with that? Perhaps the TMs are not shared with anyone, but how about the owners of the website, do they access and mine the TMs? There are usually years of hard work behind translation memories and I am only willing to share mine with a selected group of colleagues when needed. Perhaps I am old-school and suspicious, but clouds - I still prefer those in the sky

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    KateKaminski
    Local time: 10:33
    German to English
    TOPIC STARTER
    Thank you Kevin Aug 3, 2015

    Thanks for your replies, they have cleared up a lot of my questions!

    I do like the idea of clients being able to find suitable translators directly, but how do they assess the quality of the TMs if they can't speak the language? Clients often turn to agencies as they will have vetted their translators and can be sure of a decent result (or at least a refund if things go wrong).

    What is the benefit/attraction of TM-Town for potential clients? You mention that they will know who translated their document, but to be honest, do most of them care? All they want is a good, accurate translation which does not cost too much.


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    Kevin Dias
    Local time: 19:33
    SITE STAFF
    You bring up a great point Aug 3, 2015

    Hi Kate,

    Thank you for your reply. You bring up a great point, which is something I think about a lot. To some extent the idea of being able to assess quality is still very much a work in progress on TM-Town. However, in some regards I think that there are ways that a translator can currently demonstrate his/her expertise on TM-Town - which almost all tie back to the idea of specialization.

    1) Uploading work in your specific area of expertise.

    For example, if you are a Dutch to English translator specializing in woodworking and you have uploaded 50,000 translation units in that specific language pair and field of expertise it says something about you. Yes, the work is private so we can not judge the quality, but if someone has been around long enough to do a significant amount of work in a specific language pair and field of expertise, it is at least a first sign that they have acquired some expertise in that field.

    2) Selling glossaries in your field of expertise.

    If you have a French to Spanish medical glossary that 5 or 10 other translators have purchased and have given you great feedback ratings on, this speaks a lot to your expertise. This is reflected in your TM-Town profile. I think the equivalent on ProZ.com would be if you answer KudoZ questions. By answering KudoZ questions in your field you can demonstrate your expertise in that area, I think this is very similar to if you sell a glossary on TM-Town that is very highly regarded by your peers.

    There is still more to come in this area and I have more ideas for ways that translators will be able to "demonstrate" their expertise without having to reveal their work. In its current state though I still think there are many ways that a visitor to TM-Town can begin to ascertain a translators' experience and skill in a certain area of expertise.

    One quote I like to use is that on TM-Town, "translators don't just say what they can do, they show it". For example, if I need an English to Hungarian pharmaceutical translator, I would feel very comfortable hiring Anna Kaló: https://www.tm-town.com/translators/anna77. Yes, I can not judge the quality of her work, but compared to a plain CV, just viewing her TM-Town profile I can see that she has done significant work in this language pair and field of expertise.

    Ultimately I don't foresee (in the near future at least) any "algorithm" that will be able to magically assess the quality of a TM. I do however, think it is very attainable to assess (or at least partially assess) the quality of a translator by looking at different ways that translator can demonstrate their expertise in a specialized field - a lot of which revolves around terminology, because when you really boil it down, being an expert in a specialized field has a lot do to with knowledge of the terminology.


    KateKaminski wrote:
    What is the benefit/attraction of TM-Town for potential clients?


    I think that being able to upload a source text that needs to be translated and getting matched to the best translator for the job, based on the actual terminology in the text to be translated, is a very powerful concept. It is one thing to be able to search English to French Engineering and get a list of 500 translators, but IMO it is even more powerful to upload an English to French Engineering PDF you need translated and get a list of translators that have actually translated material similar to that in the past.

    As I have hinted on in past posts, I think this greatly benefits translators that specialize. If you are a translator that lists 6 language pairs and 20 fields of expertise on your CV, you probably won't fair very well on TM-Town. On the other hand, if you are an Italian to English translator who specializes in music, and you upload a lot of material in that specialty, I think you can quickly build out and "own" your niche. The goal of TM-Town is not to get you clients. The goal is to get you clients in your specific field of expertise.


    KateKaminski wrote:
    Clients often turn to agencies as they will have vetted their translators and can be sure of a decent result (or at least a refund if things go wrong).

    You mention that they will know who translated their document, but to be honest, do most of them care? All they want is a good, accurate translation which does not cost too much.


    I may be reading into this too much, but to me this sounds a little like freelance translators should just throw in the towel and go work for an agency. I think there are many translators that feel the opposite. They do not necessarily want to work for an agency. They want to build their own business and identity. One example that comes to mind is Dmitry Kornyukhov. If he agreed with your above statement, I don't think he would spend so much time building his personal website, and writing his blog (to be clear, I don't know him and have never spoken with him, but gather this from reading his blog).

    I think TM-Town is for the freelance translator that maybe doesn't want to only work for an agency but instead wants to grow his/her specialized translation business by finding clients in his/her area of expertise that appreciate his/her skills and knowledge.

    Kevin

    [Edited at 2015-08-04 07:15 GMT]


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    Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 10:33
    Member (2007)
    English
    + ...
    As TanjaO said: Aug 3, 2015

    TanjaO wrote:
    What is the use then of uploading your TMs to the site? Perhaps a client or two in exchange for the website owner getting full access to all your language pairs, all your work nicely aligned, all your terminology, for free, and doing whatever they want with that? Perhaps the TMs are not shared with anyone, but how about the owners of the website, do they access and mine the TMs? There are usually years of hard work behind translation memories and I am only willing to share mine with a selected group of colleagues when needed.

    Maybe they aren't used even by the site owners today. But what about tomorrow? How many people read the small print? Or know when it changes? Maybe I'm cynical but somehow at my age it seems more justified. I've seen a lot of seemingly good-for-everyone developments turn round and bite.

    Kevin Dias wrote:
    if you are a Dutch to English translator specializing in woodworking and you have uploaded 50,000 translation units in that specific language pair and field of expertise it says something about you. Yes, the work is private so we can not judge the quality

    Well, any good agency that really is an agency rather than a broker WILL be able to judge the quality because they either understand both languages or they've had the work proofread by a second expert. They will also have had feedback from end clients, and presumably repeat orders if the volumes are high. Therefore, I would hold that testimonials from those agencies and direct clients who know your work are far superior to a faceless website interface that can come up with a high volume of matches, with no indication whatsoever of quality. It's just more of the usual "never mind the quality, feel the width" approach.


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    Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 10:33
    Member (2007)
    English
    + ...
    ATTENTION ALL TRANSLATORS HERE ON PROZ.COM! Aug 3, 2015

    I am absolutely livid at what I've just seen on the TM-Town site. I don't know how to get it to copy to this forum, but I've just found that I'm on the list of translators named on this TM-Town site. A site that I have never used; have no wish to use; do not endorse in any way. And all the names that I'm familiar with from here on ProZ.com are on there along with me. Or maybe it's just those of us with the "P" symbol? I don't know.

    I'll be raising this on another forum just as soon as I've calmed down a little.


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    Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
    Germany
    Local time: 11:33
    Member (2004)
    English to German
    + ...
    Only the "Ps" affected Aug 3, 2015

    Sheila Wilson wrote:
    Or maybe it's just those of us with the "P" symbol? I don't know.


    I just checked, it is only the "Ps" that are affected.

    Interesting enough, the specialist it recommends for "EN-DE Medical" is not specialized in medical at all and is native in Greek. This looks like a real improvement.

    I am really happy that I never applied for the "P" and that I am not affected. I don't want to be associated with such a service at all.


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    John Holland  Identity Verified
    France
    Local time: 11:33
    Member (2012)
    French to English
    API opt-out Aug 3, 2015

    Sheila Wilson wrote:

    I am absolutely livid at what I've just seen on the TM-Town site. I don't know how to get it to copy to this forum, but I've just found that I'm on the list of translators named on this TM-Town site. A site that I have never used; have no wish to use; do not endorse in any way. And all the names that I'm familiar with from here on ProZ.com are on there along with me. Or maybe it's just those of us with the "P" symbol? I don't know.

    I'll be raising this on another forum just as soon as I've calmed down a little.



    I am a "P" and I seem not to be listed in the TM-Town database. I think this is because I opted-out of the Proz.com API, back when I learned it was being used by the Dixit company:
    http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/262051-prozcom_outsourcing_cpn_members_at_006€_w_staff_prozcom_is_not_an_outsourcer_but_a_platform.html

    You too can opt out of the ProZ.com API. See:
    http://www.proz.com/faq/130622#130622
    There is an "API opt-out" tab on the settings page of our profiles.


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    Kevin Dias
    Local time: 19:33
    SITE STAFF
    ProZ API Aug 3, 2015

    Hi Sheila,

    In the TM-Town directory, below results of TM-Town members, additional translators are shown from ProZ.com. These results are produced using ProZ.com's public API and show ProZ Certified members matching the criteria of the search.

    I have removed you from these results, and I am happy to remove anyone who requests the same. As John mentioned you can also opt-out of the ProZ.com API by adjusting your ProZ.com settings.

    I'm sorry to have upset you.

    Best regards,
    Kevin


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    Kevin Dias
    Local time: 19:33
    SITE STAFF
    Feedback is key Aug 3, 2015

    Hi Sheila,


    Sheila Wilson wrote:
    They will also have had feedback from end clients, and presumably repeat orders if the volumes are high. Therefore, I would hold that testimonials from those agencies and direct clients who know your work are far superior to a faceless website interface that can come up with a high volume of matches, with no indication whatsoever of quality.


    I completely agree that feedback from end clients is important and integral and this is and will continue to most certainly be a part of TM-Town. For example see this translator's profile: https://www.tm-town.com/translators/santrans. He is currently selling glossaries on the TM-Town Terminology Marketplace and has received feedback from other translators who have purchased his glossaries. The system will be similar for clients who purchase translation, they will have the ability to leave feedback and ratings on a translator.

    In addition to feedback from jobs a translator may receive directly from TM-Town, I am also thinking about ways that translators could add feedback or testimonials from past clients - maybe something slightly similar to how LinkedIn does endorsements. This is something I still need to develop and work on.

    Kevin

    [Edited at 2015-08-04 07:16 GMT]


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