Off topic: Interest article (NY Times: "A Web That Speaks Your Language")
Thread poster: abufaraz

abufaraz
Pakistan
Local time: 23:30
English to Urdu
+ ...
May 17, 2009

Hi all,

I came across this news item and thought it might interest our translator community. So I am posting here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/business/17proto.html?_r=1

Regards,

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-05-18 13:35 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:30
English to French
+ ...
This is sad May 17, 2009

Here is a quote from the article:
June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media, wrote:

The volunteers are deeply committed to making the best translation, and they don’t care how long it takes them. There is a passion there that you don’t get from hired guns.


And here I was, thinking I was passionate about my work. Whoever is giving us this bad rep? Maybe there are too many translators out there only interested in the money...


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:30
English to Arabic
+ ...
Maybe we too shouldn't care how long it takes us! May 17, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:

Here is a quote from the article:
June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media, wrote:

The volunteers are deeply committed to making the best translation, and they don’t care how long it takes them. There is a passion there that you don’t get from hired guns.



Ah the good old volunteers - they're committed to making the best translation, they don't care how long it takes them...
Bad old paid translators - always so committed to deadlines, how terribly impassionate of them...


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Andrea Appel
Canada
Local time: 14:30
English to German
+ ...
Misinterpretation leads to the misunderstanding of cultures May 17, 2009

I will not forget the one time when we had to take out a sentence of our German National Hymn, which had no bad meaning in any kind of way.

But it was misinterpreted from so many countries and this is exactly what those machine translations do.

It might be just a couple sentences here and there but the whole picture becomes scrambled and we form our views and live and judge accordingly.

There are the so called "worldly books" which have also been mistranslated and translated again and again and it unfortunately caused so much grief and traditional abuse and so on..

No offense please!


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xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 15:30
French to English
+ ...
Agree Viktoria May 17, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:

Here is a quote from the article:
June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media, wrote:

The volunteers are deeply committed to making the best translation, and they don’t care how long it takes them. There is a passion there that you don’t get from hired guns.


And here I was, thinking I was passionate about my work. Whoever is giving us this bad rep? Maybe there are too many translators out there only interested in the money...


I guess I'm a hired gun, out there assassinating text. And passionless to boot. Maybe I'll get some volunteers to do my work and make it more passionate. I'm sure my clients will love it.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 13:30
Member
Spanish
+ ...
Education and common sense May 18, 2009

It's no secret that our profession is criminally unappreciated, and the current trend (read:crowdsourcing) is growing against us. But it's up to us to educate people about what we REALLY do and how passion isn't enough to deliver an acceptable product, let alone a good one. We have to teach them the difference between a terrible-to-acceptable translation that "passionate" people can deliver, and a professionally-done, high-quality translation that only a real translator can provide, precisely because it's our job.

I specialize in localization, where crowd-sourcing is growing more and more each day, and I see how clients eventually realize that cleaning up the mess done by "passionate" people is actually more costly than hiring a professional in the first place. I personally refuse to clean that kind of mess, but they get the idea. They key is show them the actual difference.

But I think it's a matter of common sense. We live in a world where people rather listen to a dimwit like Jenny McCarthy instead of real doctors, putting the lives of their own children at risk. Of course some people will prefer a "passionate" (yet clueless) person in charge of their translations.


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Faruk Atabeyli  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 21:30
English to Turkish
+ ...
Future May 18, 2009

This article contains clues on the future in a post globalism (or post laissez-faire capitalism) world through the context of translation (not just translators):

It talks about the waning dominance of English as the language of the web,
It talks about tools that are technically facilitating this transformation, (inasmuch as we hate it, Google Translation is here to stay),
It talks about a new generation of professionals who are no longer content with a life dedicated to earning money, and how they are volunteering their time for things they value,
It talks about the emerging prominence of civil initiatives that provide the organizational infrastructure for some of these trends,
It talks about a great deal more on issues that should be of interest not just for translators but for anyone interested in the future,

And all we can find to discuss about in this interesting article (and its links) is a comment made by one person?

Introversion.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:00
German to English
Do you actually think about the money while translating? May 18, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:
Maybe there are too many translators out there only interested in the money...


Once the preliminaries are over after a client has approached me with an assignment, I don't actually think about the money or payment until the due date for payment as stipulated in my invoice. While I'm translating, all I think about is the translation - doesn't that put me in a similar position as the volunteers mentioned in the article as far as the actual translation is concerned? And anyway, I wonder how many of those volunteers actually translate for a living!


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:30
English to Arabic
+ ...
The motivation of volunteers May 18, 2009

I have great understanding for the motivation people doing volunteer work for charity causes. They are happy not to earn money if they can benefit a worthy charity that helps, e.g. the poor, cancer research, the Red Cross etc.

But what is the real motivation of volunteers who decide to do work for free for Wikipedia and Google?
Is it really like Faruk says,

Faruk Atabeyli wrote:

professionals who are no longer content with a life dedicated to earning money


Can simply "not earning money" be called a motivation, regardless of who stands to gain from your selflessness?

I'm sorry, maybe I'm not altruistic enough, but I'd be grateful for enlightenment.


-----------------

Umm, come to think of it, I've taken part in the Arabization of Proz, and that's no charity...
My motivation of course was to give back something to a site that's given me a lot (yeah, ok, I'm a paid member, but even before that...)
So maybe people who translate for Wikipedia feel so much gratitude for the site that they too want to give it something back...?

[Edited at 2009-05-18 13:01 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:30
English to French
+ ...
It's all good May 19, 2009

Faruk Atabeyli wrote:

And all we can find to discuss about in this interesting article (and its links) is a comment made by one person?

Introversion.

You are right, the article does discuss more than the issue I raised in my first post. However, none of that is new to me, except that one comment I quoted earlier. If it doesn't bother you, good for you. But I don't take kindly to people who pretend to know what makes a translator tick when they are clearly clueless about it.

There is only a fine line between saying that a professional translator is devoid of passion and comparing a professional translator to a machine - I can see now why some people prefer to use Google Translate rather than pay for a professional translation. Both are perceived as machines, at least by some, except that the former doesn't cost a penny. And for me, it's not about the money - it's about the garbage translations seen not only on the Web, but also in important documentation. If I weren't passionate about what I do, this wouldn't bother me the least bit. Let's not even get started on how dangerous a mediocre translation can be...

In any case, like all of us, you are free to discuss any aspect of the article as you deem fit.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:30
English to French
+ ...
And... May 19, 2009

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

And anyway, I wonder how many of those volunteers actually translate for a living!


...and how many of them are held accountable for the quality? I don't see what volunteers have to lose if it is discovered that they are mediocre translators...


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