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Crowdsourcing turned bad

Crowdsourcing turned badAs we recently noted, crowdsourcing translation is all the rage. And despite some challenges with the model, many companies deploy it effectively.

And then there is LinkedIn. Its offer to reward translators through badges, account updates, or just good ol' karma created a firestorm among linguists, gave rise to the group Translators against Crowdsourcing by Commercial Businesses, and, yesterday, got its own article in the New York Times.

Now that kind of bad publicity is bound to slow LinkedIn's reach within the language service business.

But I think there is a positive ending in this for all parties concerned: For LinkedIn, hopefully any publicity is good publicity. And for translators, it could be a lot worse.

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  1. pepper said...
    IMHO Crowdsourcing didn't turn bad. LInkedin approached turned bad, that's all.
    Crowdsourcing is here, kicking and and alive; not only in the translation domain but everywhere.

    Think about the events in Iran; how the crowd is taking part in news reporting (and commercial groups such as CNN and others are taking advantage of it).

    Crowdsourcing is here. We need to get used to it, either we like it or not.
    David said...
    To an extent I agree with Pepper. Crowdsourcing as a creative sourcing strategy isn't going away - but LinkedIn was clumsy in their approach to translators. If professional translators are the target 'crowd' as they were for LinkedIn then they need to be treated with respect and the gain (monetary or otherwise) must be clear - otherwise it just ends up being an affront!

    I have profiled some of the ways to make localization crowdsourcing work AND some of the pitfalls on the Localization Best Practices blog

    Anonymous said...
    The current discussion on LinkedIn focuses on two key issues:
    1. What materials and projects qualify for the community/collaborative/distributed/hive translation approach?
    a. Flossmanuals's audacious goal of translating the internet" is an obvious candidate (http://en.flossmanuals.net).
    b. Anything regarding direct communications or user forums involving people not speaking each other's language is another.
    c. Critical content requiring proper legal and regulatory authorization is not a good candidate.
    2. How can qualified language professional manage the expectations of corporate translation buyers subjected in their organizational hierarchy to the overall need to drive down translation cost? What are the constraints involved, including content type, technology, logistics, schedule, budget, and quality?


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