The Linguist

The Linguist 52,5

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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FEATURES work. In this way, if other users do not like the translation, they can contact the translator directly to complain or to request a change. No volunteer wants to see complaints on their profile from their peers and fellow users. Will more companies follow suit? CREATIVE COMMONS QATAR, 'ALLNEW 487A', 21/11/11 new market because they immediately begin sharing the product with family, friends and colleagues. VIA FLICKR (CC BY 2.0) to address the classic chicken-and-egg problem: how do you gain experience if experience is a requirement for every translation job? Are professionals losing out? Once a company begins to head down the translation path, they often find that they need to invest in professional translation. For example, a website translated by a volunteer community might have legal disclaimers and other specialised content that have to be translated professionally. Without the volunteer community translating the rest of the site, the opportunity for the professional translation work would not exist. Similarly, if a community translated product, website or service creates more revenue, site traffic or downloads, the company begins to place translation more squarely on its radar. It starts to reason, 'We offered this product in Spanish thanks to our community – what if we get our ten other products translated? How much new revenue will that potentially add?' This generally leads to more paid translation work for freelancers and agencies. So community translation is often a catalyst that generates demand for professional translation. Instead of community efforts stealing opportunities for paid translation, in many cases it creates them. Indeed, many young translators get their feet wet working on volunteer projects, where they can gain experience while they are studying. Within a group of volunteers, people correct each other's work, share feedback and collaborate, so it is generally a safe place to try out their developing skills. Crowd-sourcing thus enables new translators Vol/52 No/5 2013 Can quality be ensured? In most community projects, the people doing the translating are end-users or people who belong to the target market. Does this concept sound familiar? It should, because it is similar to the common translation quality control step of in-country review. Often, companies will vet a professional translation via actual customers or users to check that they like what they see. With community translation, the in-country review is typically built in to the translation process. If users are voting on the translation, in a system such as Facebook's, the majority decides which translation they like best. Even so, the notion that the 'unwashed masses' are responsible for the translation is an important consideration. The sheer number of volunteers is a safeguard to quality but smaller communities can struggle to find sufficient numbers, and that can mean that the translation is never launched, even if it is complete. Many community managers will not trust a translation if it hasn't been reviewed by several volunteers. There are plenty of companies sitting around with fully translated content that is never published, simply because the community was not large enough to ensure quality. For most companies, quality is paramount. To help ensure that users provide the best translations possible, one common strategy is to share translators' identities in order to hold them accountable for the quality of their The good news is that yes, since Facebook and other early adopters ignited this trend, many more companies have followed, and this has resulted in more demand for translation in general, including for paid professional services. However, community translation is highly unlikely to be widely adopted by most companies. For many of the world's largest industries that purchase translation, it is practically impossible to foresee a situation where community translation would work. Think of the life sciences industry, the legal field or the financial sector. These risk-averse industries are not likely to jump toward community translation any time soon. This means that these companies are less likely to be propelled into paid translation work by a community-stimulated effort. In other sectors, many companies need to protect their intellectual property. Most are not comfortable throwing their content over to a crowd of people, even if they have carefully designed the project. In short, the vast majority of the world's translation projects will not be crowd-sourced because that simply isn't a viable solution. Much ado about nothing? Community translation is not something that translators should see as a big threat, even though the profession has historically been quick to issue a threat alert when something new is introduced. When translation memory was first introduced, many translators refused to use it; and while machine translation was widely despised, many translators are now finding work cleaning up or post-editing computer-generated translations. Crowd-sourcing is not just a passing trend. The world around us is changing, and translators need to adapt to accommodate those changes. Community translation has its place in the translation arena, but it is usually a very different place to where professional translation resides. It is not something to be feared but rather to be acknowledged, explored and understood. OCTOBER/NOVEMBER The Linguist 15

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