‘Crowdsource’ is one of those new fangled words created by the internet generation that is now creeping into everyday parlance.
Crowdsourcing, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is:
“The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”
Crowdsourcing is probably most commonly associated with business funding. Aspiring entrepreneurs put their ideas out there, and amateur investors can back the idea financially is they want to bring it to life. Crowdsourcing has also been used for non-commercial work and to develop common goods like Wikipedia.
So what does all this have to with translation? Well, until now, the worlds of crowdsourcing and translation have lived disparate lives, but now a number of high profile companies are changing all that by taking a crowdsourced approach to translating their content.
Why are some brands crowdsourcing their translation projects?
Crowdsourcing is an extremely risky approach to take on any translation project. By using dedicated translation platforms to enlist the services of amateur translators, the likelihood is you’ll receive a disjointed, inconsistent and inaccurate translation. So why are some brands choosing this option?
Companies that choose to crowdsource their translation projects are clearly prepared to compromise on quality in favour of cost and speed. For this reason, companies will only usually crowdsource content that is not brand-critical. It is often the case that the compromise on quality actually makes the project feasible, simply because the cost of translating such large volumes of content would otherwise be prohibitive.
The middle ground between professional and machine translation
If you need a word perfect translation of a technical document, website, brochure or any other important content, there is no substitute for professional translation. For large quantities of content, the cost of professional translation services can be beyond some businesses. In this case, machine translation presents an alternative that produces low quality, often mistake-ridden results. The middle ground between the two is to crowdsource translation.
Two of the most well known names to crowdsource their translations are internet leviathans Facebook and Twitter. They have both used huge pools of translators to localise their websites. Facebook has long relied on its own users to help translate its site into more than 65 different languages, while Twitter used more than 400,000 volunteer translators to localise its site across 11 languages.
These crowdsourced translation projects were completed extremely quickly, allowing the social networks to unveil new versions of their sites just a few weeks after the translation projects began. However, as is often the case with projects completed by peers, there were considerable differences between the abilities of the would-be translators, making it impossible to achieve a high quality end result.
There’s still no substitute for professional translation
If you have a large translation project that doesn’t demand consistency or a particularly high level of quality, such as a fan site, a blog or a community based platform, crowdsourced translation could be the cost effective solution you need. However, if you’re looking to localise content to encourage the reader towards a particular goal, a professional translation plays an important part in building trust.
Any content that forms a part of your branding, such as marketing materials, brochures and product or service translations, really should be translated by a professional. The same can be said for technical or legal documents, where inaccuracies could get you into trouble.
Quality translations from a professional team
At Linguistica International, we offer high quality, word perfect translations performed by a professionally qualified team of mother tongue linguists. All of our translators have at least five years’ experience in the linguistics field and professional experience in your particular sector. That’s why, when global brands like Orange and Santander want to put their best foot forward overseas, we’re their go-to translation team.