The pros and cons of crowdsourcing

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Grosso
Argentina
Local time: 14:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
The quality control of professionals is necessary Aug 9, 2010

I agree and encourage the view that translators must take advantage of crowdsourcing and provide professional quality control.

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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, but signs of early dementia... Aug 10, 2010

I think that there is nothing worse than translation crowdsourcing. One need only to read the translations of Harry Potter made by "aficionados" full of syntax, spelling and interpreting errors and the same versions made by professionals. Crowdsourcing is also unfair competition and should be prohibited by law.

The fact that a job is done by a majority does not mean it is right. Moreover, majorities tend to act stupid. This may sound undemocratic and it is. I prefer to be governed by a single person or a group with a higher intellectual capacity than by a group of idiots. The same is true for the proofreading of my translation jobs and for collaborating with other translators. Does crowdsourcing exist, for example, to collect tomatoes? No, crowdsourcing is just a scam for petty intelectualoids...

It is also completely false and biased that thousand eyes will see an error that a trained professional translator may not see. Of course it may happen, but it is not and never will be the rule, because not-professional people lack of the professional's knowledge to judge what is an error or not. And there is no such thing as good enough translations (Proz's last invention). Translations are well done or not. Period.

Finally, there are already professional translators teams working together for larger projects (any need of crowdsourcing). Only that these translators do not use ProZ as a collaborative platform anymore, but other collaborative tools due to confidentiality and low prices issues (discussed here ad nauseum) until some outstanding translators decided or were invited to leave Proz.

And IMHO, after reading this string of nonsenses they were very right by leaving ProZ.


[Edited at 2010-08-10 22:08 GMT]


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 00:42
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
A new irresistible trend of translation service. Aug 10, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
I think that there is nothing worse than translation crowdsourcing. One need only to read the translations of Harry Potter made by "aficionados" full of syntax, spelling and interpreting errors and the same versions made by professionals. Crowdsourcing is also unfair competition and should be prohibited by law.

I agree with Pablo.

In a Blomberg.com forum, the comments I read is many companies that dip their toes in crowdsourced water is to shift from having a reactive culture to one that's proactive. There's a delicate balance between encouraging participation and maintaining clarity of overall business objectives.

Since it is a new global trend partly owing to progress of Internet connection, we the translators need to live with it. We need adjustment in our career path. I expect extensive discussion on this matter.

Best regards,

Soonthon L.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Re: Sorry? Aug 10, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
I think that there is nothing worse than translation crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is also unfair competition and should be prohibited by law.


Crowdsourcing is a good idea if there are insufficient resources for traditional translation, and this can include not having enough money to pay a professional translator or not being able to find any professional translator willing to do the job. It is a mistake to believe that there are more translators than documents that need translating.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
An assumption Aug 10, 2010

The article says:
Perhaps it’s time for translators to start building their own model of crowdsourcing, harnessing the power of the crowd with the quality control of a professional—whether this means professional, paid translators overseeing amateur volunteers or a group of end users providing input on a professional project. Some translators and agencies are starting to move in this direction, and it’s a direction worth exploring.


and I suspect Grosso's response is a direct response to it:

Grosso wrote:
I agree and encourage the view that translators must take advantage of crowdsourcing and provide professional quality control.


I agree that the statistical model or brute force model of crowdsourcing quality control is likely to produce poor results for many years to come, and that crowdsourcing firms should rely on professional translators to iron out the creases and wrinkles in such translated texts, but there does seem to be an assumption here that professional translators (in a given language and field) will all have the same opinion about what's correct and what's incorrect in any given translation.

Already I see the possible start of a trend to involve professional translators (albeit also on a crowdsourcing-like way) to do quality control (and in some cases these translators actually get paid (but whether what they get paid is sufficient is a separate debate)). Still, ten translators will give ten different opinions about a job, so the question that crowdsourcing systems' designers should ask themselves is how they are going to deal with the fact that even highly paid professional quality control still produces non-finite results.


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Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:42
Danish to English
early signs of dementia Aug 10, 2010

"Many organizations need a “good enough” translation instead of a perfect one, and the work of amateur volunteers is good enough. It is important to remember that many organizations using crowdsourced translation will always want a faster or cheaper solution; translators must target potential clients that truly need professional services. "
(from the pros and cons of crowdsourcing)
"amateur volunteers"? "amateurs"? "volunteers"?
How this can even be proposed, or at all entertained, on a forum for so called professional translators, is beyond me. This is beginning to feel like some kind of play by Samuel Beckett. We already have Google Translate. It probably does a better job than these "amateur volunteers". This is not a path to a brave new world, it is a path to utter chaos. Any qualified translator who is willing to be rolled up into this "cloud" of nonsense, this "wikepedia" of translation, must be crazy. The democratic process in translation! If enough people say so, then it has to be true. And, as soon as a translation is proposed, anywhere on the internet, also on this website, and then you try a search on google, that will be one of the first "solutions" you come up with. Further proof that it's correct. If you can find it on Google, well isn't that proof enough? That is used all the time on this website.
It is the dog chasing its own tail, and now that it has finally gotten a good bite, it won't be satisfied until it has eaten itself.
Be my guest!


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Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:42
Danish to English
crowdsourcing is a scam Aug 10, 2010

I agree with Pablo, of course, in particular with his edits.
This subject has recently been run over in a thread of 5 pages, started by a proxy for one of the "croudsourcers" or "cloudsourcers", which was them stopped, and is now a hard to find entity.
"good enough translations"? Why not "OK" translations, or "not too shabby" translations, or "could be worse" translation", or "nobody will know the difference" translations, or "hope no real translator ever sees this" translations. Take the $0.01 and run!
What's next? Croudsourcing for science? In this country of idiots and teapartiers, the Earth will soon be flat, and barely 5000 years old. And natural disasters will be due to people not going to church on Sunday.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, but let us move on Aug 11, 2010

Brian Young wrote:
This subject has recently been run over in a thread of 5 pages, started by a proxy for one of the "croudsourcers" or "cloudsourcers", which was then stopped, and is now a hard to find entity.


Yes, I remember that thread (which was eventually locked). Forum rules prohibit me from speculating about why that thread was "stopped", as you call it. So let us not reopen the issue, but move on.

The reason I'm saying this is to point out how many translators approach this subject not with reasoned arguments or first-hand experience, but with anecdotal evidence and sometimes even emotional knee-jerking.

One ProZian in particular who called the particular croudsourcing company a scam would not back up his accusation -- with neither facts nor reasoning -- even when asked for clarification. In fact, he simply repeated his accusation (although he did admit that his accusation was based not on fact but purely on hearsay.

When we discuss crowdsourcing, let us do so with reasoned arguments. If someone disagrees with an argument, he can argue his point, and the discussion can become interesting. For example, I disagree with many of Pablo's points, but at least he has points that one can disagree with.



[Edited at 2010-08-11 07:57 GMT]


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
Crowdsourcing pros and cons Aug 12, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

Brian Young wrote:
This subject has recently been run over in a thread of 5 pages, started by a proxy for one of the "croudsourcers" or "cloudsourcers", which was then stopped, and is now a hard to find entity.


Yes, I remember that thread (which was eventually locked). Forum rules prohibit me from speculating about why that thread was "stopped", as you call it. So let us not reopen the issue, but move on.

The reason I'm saying this is to point out how many translators approach this subject not with reasoned arguments or first-hand experience, but with anecdotal evidence and sometimes even emotional knee-jerking.

One ProZian in particular who called the particular croudsourcing company a scam would not back up his accusation -- with neither facts nor reasoning -- even when asked for clarification. In fact, he simply repeated his accusation (although he did admit that his accusation was based not on fact but purely on hearsay.

When we discuss crowdsourcing, let us do so with reasoned arguments. If someone disagrees with an argument, he can argue his point, and the discussion can become interesting. For example, I disagree with many of Pablo's points, but at least he has points that one can disagree with.



[Edited at 2010-08-11 07:57 GMT]


Of course everyone can disagree with me or my ideas. I also understand that there should exist organisations such as "xxxx without borders" or other charities including free volunteer translations in some cases like Haiti's one or any similar. But not to present us a crowdsourcing job as a standard one or as a normal thing, which is the goal of this kind of articles. Usually, organisations that ask for crowdsourcing are anything, but poor...

How would you call a group of people that makes unfair competition to you (without paying taxes or anything else) without being paid, but for a product or service that you have to pay? I call it a scam. Others may call it in another way. If I were a peasant and I would need people to collect tomatoes and could pay them, but did not want to do it or I owned a so big landpiece I would not be able to collect the tomatoes without the help of a big number of workers, would be so many volunteers to work for free for me? I dubt...

May be J.K. Rowling has earned money enough not to act against those who illegally translated his works, but not all translators earn such money.



[Edited at 2010-08-13 06:24 GMT]


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
But is it a scam? Aug 13, 2010

It may offer very low monetary consideration, it may be unfair competition to certain groups of people, it may produce translation works of dubious quality, but is it a scam which by definition must contain elements of deception?

Can you crowdsource tomato picking? Yes you can. It may not be here now but why it is not possible, with the help of right technology, a 10 year old child or a retired person anywhere in the world where there is internet connection can remotely operate a piece of picking machinery installed on a tomato farm in Spain or Indonesia or California to harvest tomatoes in exchange for money or fun?

Nobody is forced to join the crowd, and nobody can force you to change your views and ideas.

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

I think that there is nothing worse than translation crowdsourcing. One need only to read the translations of Harry Potter made by "aficionados" full of syntax, spelling and interpreting errors and the same versions made by professionals. Crowdsourcing is also unfair competition and should be prohibited by law.

The fact that a job is done by a majority does not mean it is right. Moreover, majorities tend to act stupid. This may sound undemocratic and it is. I prefer to be governed by a single person or a group with a higher intellectual capacity than by a group of idiots. The same is true for the proofreading of my translation jobs and for collaborating with other translators. Does crowdsourcing exist, for example, to collect tomatoes? No, crowdsourcing is just a scam for petty intelectualoids...



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Ricardo Horta  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A bit O/T... Aug 13, 2010

...but this reminds me of an episode of "House", where some guy was sick and decided to publish all his symptoms online, arguing that it would be faster to find a cure, having so many people looking into it.

(I checked and it's Season 6, Episode 2: Epic Fail)

Ricardo


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
The question of suitability... Aug 13, 2010

... is quite separate from the question of legality.

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Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:42
Danish to English
Deception? Aug 13, 2010

There are so many suckers and gullible people in the world that a "thing" does not have to be technically illegal to qualify as a scam.
Old ladies get a phone call, get sweet talked into signing over their savings account, often to a person "of the cloth", and are suddenly ruined. This activity is almost universally judged to be illegal, and the willingness of the victim does not change that. This is legal fact.
We have had, and are still suffering from, the global housing and real estate scam, which has enriched a few, and ruined the lives and life savings of millions of people.
You can argue all you want that people made their own choices, and that nobody was forced to take on a mortgage that they could not possibly afford. It was mass hysteria, and that is what is happening here. This applies to obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, and it will, apparently, soon apply to translation.
There has been so much crying and wailing on this website about low rates, and yet we have a group of lemmings ready and willing to run off the cliff of sanity, and plunge into the pit of idiocy that the cloud is offering. There is probably nothing to do about it. I am, however, surprised, that there are people on this website who take this garbage seriously, and want to have a dialogue about it. We already have Google Translate. What more can you ask for?


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life... Aug 13, 2010

Antipodean wrote:

It may offer very low monetary consideration, it may be unfair competition to certain groups of people, it may produce translation works of dubious quality, but is it a scam which by definition must contain elements of deception?

Can you crowdsource tomato picking? Yes you can. It may not be here now but why it is not possible, with the help of right technology, a 10 year old child or a retired person anywhere in the world where there is internet connection can remotely operate a piece of picking machinery installed on a tomato farm in Spain or Indonesia or California to harvest tomatoes in exchange for money or fun?

Nobody is forced to join the crowd, and nobody can force you to change your views and ideas.

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

I think that there is nothing worse than translation crowdsourcing. One need only to read the translations of Harry Potter made by "aficionados" full of syntax, spelling and interpreting errors and the same versions made by professionals. Crowdsourcing is also unfair competition and should be prohibited by law.

The fact that a job is done by a majority does not mean it is right. Moreover, majorities tend to act stupid. This may sound undemocratic and it is. I prefer to be governed by a single person or a group with a higher intellectual capacity than by a group of idiots. The same is true for the proofreading of my translation jobs and for collaborating with other translators. Does crowdsourcing exist, for example, to collect tomatoes? No, crowdsourcing is just a scam for petty intelectualoids...




Yes, it is a scam. The evil of the matter is that with the globalization on behalf of a misunderstood (pseudo) freedom we are more slaves than ever of a few unscrupulous people that does not have any moral qualms to get even richer at the expense of others, due of our very limited critical discernment as a society and as individuals.

For those who did not get it yet: not long ago who really govern the world met in Greece and just then Greece broke financially. Relatively recently they met in Sitges (a beautiful coastal town in Catalonia, Spain) and... What a coincidence! Spain is the only EC country that still continues in recession. Should I continue? If someone did not get it already, will never get it even if I would write a complete encyclopedia about them.

Who thinks that globalization (together with crowd sourcing and low pricing policies as one of his side effects between many other negative effects) or that the worldwide economic crisis and their effects are logical consequences of the evolution (natural selection) and not induced and related events has not understood yet how this world works.

And yes, we are forced to change our views and ideas by mean of worldwide economic chantage trough the financial system (Federal Reserve, Central Banks, IFM, etc), skewed publicity at TV and other media, absence of certain products in certain countries and a lot of coercion with which we are bombarded daily. We just do not want to realize that we are slaved by the powerful one instead of free. This is the paradox: Feel absolutely free, but acts as and be (our) slave. And IMHO, crowdsourcing is just this: A new kind of slavery.




[Edited at 2010-08-13 07:56 GMT]


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