Poll: What do you think about "crowdsourced" translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:09
SITE STAFF
Sep 18, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you think about "crowdsourced" translation?".

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:09
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other Sep 18, 2010

I had to search the term: crowdsourcing, and now that I know it, I have to find good and bad results.... so now my answer is I don't know as I have no experience.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
No idea Sep 18, 2010

Glad to see I'm in the majority and not a mushroom (kept in the dark and fed...).

If it refers to the custom of agencies trawling (sending out job offers to everyone on proz or other sites) rather than approaching me for my services directly, I find it quite irritating when I get these emails from people I have worked with previously, and even more so when I have specifically asked them NOT to send me this type of massive emails. They are usually looking for the cheapest option too, so I am generally not interested in haggling, as my rates are low enough for this area.


 

Richard Boulter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
crowdsourcing - outsourcing - direct clients Sep 18, 2010

I responded 'Other', since the question is too broad for a professional web discussion. In brief, 'translation' by crowdsourcing (and machine translation) may be fine for texts like social networking and 'Twitter-level' conversations, where both senders and recipients only need a general idea of the message and the results are not especially important to either. A keyissue, here, is whether confidentiality and responsibility for precision in the resulting translation are factors.

But for legal/business/medical documents/conversations needing professional translations or interpretations, 'crowdsourcing' is like playing russian roulette with an automatic pistol. This includes a client 'outsourcing' an important technical translation to some have-laptop-will-broker-translation-'agency' that undercuts rates and fails to provide (and charge the client for) the added-value services of qualifying the actual translator & arranging for professional proofing & corrections.

Still, crowdsourcing in general is an excellent medium for accessing broader ideas or solutions, finding alternative words for a concept, or recognizing capable people with whom one could make VERY different arrangements to collaborate on professional projects: witness ProZ KudoZ and Wikipedia, for example. Nobody is necessarily responsible for contributions and the possibility of deliberate errors even exists. Thankfully, I haven't noticed any of the latter on KudoZ; I enjoy participating in the discussions to the best of my humble abilities. icon_smile.gif


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:09
French to English
Extreme options? Sep 18, 2010

Surprised to see so many not knowing what it is, quite honestly, but ... actually, not surprised, but I think it's a disappointing indicator of the awareness levels of the wider world shown day in, day out on here. It's not quite at the level of those who don't know what a purchase order or invoice is, or are unaware of the notion of "bad debts", but....

Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that I don't think just having "great" or "bad" as the levels of actual appreciation/assessment (excluding the various don't know/other options) is really adequate. Who lives in a world where something is either "great" or "bad"?


 

Catherine Shepherd  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't know Sep 18, 2010

I would like to know how crowdsourcing would apply to translations.

 

João Roque Dias
Portugal
Local time: 10:09
English to Portuguese
That's a very simple question to answer Sep 18, 2010

In two easy steps:

(1) Look at your own KudoZ.

(2) What do you think, ProZ?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:09
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Great, but only for non-profit organisations? Sep 18, 2010

Why on earth should crowdsourcing be OK for NGOs if it isn't good enough for private companies? When an NGO publishes its website and press releases etc in support of its fight against poverty, war, lack of education and health care, ... why should it be OK for their texts to be riddled with mistakes and barely understandable? Surely they deserve the best translations, not the worst?

When there are so many translators willing to give their time freely to do pro-bono work for NGOs, they thankfully don't have to put up with the probably sub-standard texts that crowdsourcing will produce. I put as much care and attention into my translations for TWB (Translators Without Borders) as I do for my other clients and I'm happy that they ask me to do the work. It would be sad to think they were having to rely on cut-price methods.

BTW I answered "bad" as I was thinking of the context that professional translators find themselves in but I can see that it might be a great asset for those who want to "twitter" in another language.


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:09
English to Russian
+ ...
Baaad! Sep 19, 2010

Even in KudoZ, which has an extensive peer review mechanism, you occasionally see outright wrong answers being selected. What can then be said of regular crowdsourced products, usually released into use without any serious review?

 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:09
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Facebook vs wikipedia Sep 19, 2010

A lot of Facebook's languages were crowdsourced. Latin certainly was.
It may work well in very limited contexts.

Wikipedia can be very good for pop culture, and awful for history, if someone has an axe to grind. It suffers from a lack of hierarchy: sorry, but some people are more expert than others and their opinions should carry more weight. If anyone can change something at any time, then the text is open to being abused by someone with an agenda.

Crowdsourcing needs *a lot* of proofreading and fact checking. This is something KudoZ tends to do very well with a minimal layer of expert opinion, but not always.

Imagine [your most representative historical author] translated by a crowd. Some phrases will well done, some flat, some just plain wrong. And tomorrow it will be different.


 


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