"Crowdsourcing Picks Up Speed in Sweden and Beyond"
Thread poster: Daniel Šebesta

Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 21:45
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Aug 26, 2009

"Despite the fact that some people might claim that what Dan Brown writes is not exactly “literature,” the Swedish translation of Dan Brown’s anticipated mega-seller, “The Lost Symbol,” will be produced quickly by using crowdsourcing."

Full article at http://www.globalwatchtower.com/2009/08/26/ct3-dan-brown/


 

Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
motivations Aug 26, 2009

Thanks, Daniel. Interesting article. Disappointing but interesting.
"As in the example of the Dan Brown book, Common Sense Advisory’s research shows that faster time-to-market is one of the primary motivations for moving away from the traditional translation process and toward crowdsourced translation.".
And what would be the other primary motivations? Let's look at the description of the research report:
"Benefits: For Buyers: Buyers expect to benefit from an increased speed of translation and perhaps the ability to deal with greater volumes of content at the same or lower costs."

Surprise surprise. It should say "lower cost and lower quality". I guess they're playing it safe by writing "perhaps" because it's true, perhaps the cost will be lower, or perhaps it will end up being much higher if the publisher decides to hire a professional translator to clean up the mess.


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:45
Swedish to English
+ ...
PR is PR - good or bad Aug 26, 2009

"Publishing house Albert Bonniers"? This, without the final "s", is to my knowledge the name of a man who established a publishing house in the late 19th century (possibly early 20th), but its current name is just "Bonniers" and has been so for as long as I can remember.

Now for some reserach, click on the first link in the article, Jonas Axelsson, and you'll find an article from svd.se, one of two national broadsheets in Sweden.

If you can read Swedish, you will then find that this is not about crowd sourcing per se. Rather, it's an attempt to get media coverage. Bonniers have, according to the article, sourced (but not crowd sourced) six translators who they deem capable of translating 100 pages each in seven days (yes, we can all laugh at that time frame, but then D. Brown is not actually high literature). Their reason for this, again according to the article, is that the American publisher refuses to release the manuscript until the day it's actually published in English (to avoid piracy).

So basically, the article on Global Watchtower is an incorrect interpretation of a short article on svd.se which was most likely based on a press release from Bonniers.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:45
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
What I don't understand Aug 27, 2009

Why is it so important that the translation is published so soon? Because most people understand English the whole plot will be known right after the book comes out and the first copy appears on the net. So what's the point of the rush?
Regards
Heinrich


 

Kroz Wado
Japan
Local time: 04:45
Japanese to English
Maximum publicity... Aug 27, 2009

Maximum publicity... Dan Brown is a horrific writer though. They shouldn't have any trouble at that speed.

 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:45
German to English
+ ...
More views + same thing in Germany (but it's not crowdsourcing) Aug 27, 2009

Here's an article (in Swedish) from Svensk Bokhandel, the organ of the Swedish book trade:
http://www.svb.se/Nyheter/2009/181512

Dagens Nyheter (the largest daily paper in Stockholm) covered it as well: http://www.dn.se/dnbok/dan-brown-den-forlorade-symbolen-1.935599
Commenters here are distinctly unimpressed, but both of these articles make it clear that the Swedish publisher is not happy with the way the original manuscript is being held back from them.

A similar procedure will be used for the German translation, too: "Um die deutsche Übersetzung termingerecht zum Start der Frankfurter Buchmesse auf den Markt zu bringen, werden im Verlagshaus Lübbe zeitgleich sechs Übersetzer die rund 600 Seiten des Original-Manuskriptes übersetzen; parallel wird lektoriert." (from the German publisher's own site: http://www.luebbe.de/ )

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Why is it so important that the translation is published so soon? Because most people understand English the whole plot will be known right after the book comes out and the first copy appears on the net. So what's the point of the rush?


The reasoning is that the later the translation is published, the more people will choose to buy the English version instead. That means that the Swedish publisher would lose sales to the US/UK publishers, because the two versions of the book are competing products.

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

"Publishing house Albert Bonniers"? This, without the final "s", is to my knowledge the name of a man who established a publishing house in the late 19th century (possibly early 20th), but its current name is just "Bonniers" and has been so for as long as I can remember.


See http://www.bonniers.se/sv/content/organisation ( http://www.bonniers.se/en/content/organization in English). Bonnier AB is a "multi-channel media company". Bonnierförlagen is the name of its publishing group in Sweden. Bonnierförlagen's imprints include Albert Bonniers förlag, Wahlström & Widstrand and Forum. The website of Albert Bonniers förlag is at http://www.albertbonniersforlag.se/ . "Bonniers" is a shortened form of this name, but it's not the actual name of the company.

I agree that this is not crowdsourcing. The translators have been contracted in the usual way (I assume); it's just that in this case, each translator will be doing a chunk of the book rather than the whole thing.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 21:45
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Speed Aug 27, 2009

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Why is it so important that the translation is published so soon? Because most people understand English the whole plot will be known right after the book comes out and the first copy appears on the net. So what's the point of the rush?
Regards
Heinrich

Get it to market while it's still new and exciting, and you sell more copies. People who are interested in Dan Brown hear about the new book when it comes out, and the sooner it is available in their own language, the more likely they are to buy it. In a couple of months, they just forget about it.

By the way, this is not crowdsourcing. They just chopped up the book and use 6 translators. Somewhat unusual for fiction and arguably less than ideal, but it's not exactly a paradigm shift. This is done as a matter of course in other projects like localization and with nonfiction books - in fact, I myself have been involved in both.

[Edited at 2009-08-27 07:03 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just the editor's urge Aug 27, 2009

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
Why is it so important that the translation is published so soon? Because most people understand English the whole plot will be known right after the book comes out and the first copy appears on the net. So what's the point of the rush?

To me it's like any other business: in this case, editors feel that they must capitalise on the momentum created by advertising and paid . If they have to wait very long for the translation, the momentum might be lost and they might to have to pay a big advertising campaign in foreign countries.

Now, I wonder whether Mercedes or Porsche will ever use crowdsourcing: they put a crate with all the parts of their cars in the middle of a square and ask people to assemble it "just for fun". Would you buy such a car? Personally I would not buy a novel translated by crowdsourcing. They would have to give it to me for free and then I might read it. My time is too valuable to use, pay or read badly finished stuff.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The dream society of every entrepreneur Aug 27, 2009

I find it so interesting to see that the old romantic dream of a leisure society is slowly becoming true. In modern economies, physical effort is confined to very few professions, and in fact even in those professions the muscle needed to do the work has dropped dramatically: everywhere there are power tools and machines that make it all so much easier. With the same effort, you do a lot more work in all professions today than 50 years ago.

Now, what do we do with all that free time? I really doubt that very busy professionals (not only in translation but in all industries) will have time to do unpaid work, mostly because they hardly have time for private life, but the truth is that so many people seem to feel eager to find some way to do work for free, either IT work (developing freeware and open source stuff, translating Proz and so many other websites for free, translating stuff for free, etc.).

Isn't it amazing that we find it so hard to do creative things and finally all we can think of is to do work for free? I think this is the dream of every entrepreneur: being surrounded by a commoditised crowd in which more and more people are lacking ideas but enjoy working for free. Smashing!icon_smile.gif


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 21:45
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yes Aug 27, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Now, I wonder whether Mercedes or Porsche will ever use crowdsourcing


Of course. They always have been and always will be, at least if you want to call the sort of teamwork described in the Dan Brown article "crowdsourcing", which it obviously isn't.
They do this in the translation of their materials, they do this in design, they do this in construction.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Only six translators Aug 27, 2009

Daniel Šebesta wrote:
Full article at http://www.globalwatchtower.com/2009/08/26/ct3-dan-brown/


Well, six translators (who are selected in advance) isn't really crowdsourcing, is it?


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Three are a crowd Aug 27, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
Well, six translators (who are selected in advance) isn't really crowdsourcing, is it?

Well, in Spain we say "Three are a crowd..."....icon_smile.gif (Of course it means that three people is one person too many in a love relationship).


 

Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:15
German to English
That's what I thought too Aug 27, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
Well, six translators (who are selected in advance) isn't really crowdsourcing, is it?


Is it the "crowd" in the word "crowdsourcing" that's really putting us professional translators off? Is "crowdsourcing" an appropriate term to describe this "phenomenon?"

Dan Brown is a horrific writer though


Quite. Translating Dan Brown wouldn't exactly be my cup of teaicon_smile.gif


 


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