Quite honestly, aren't you getting bored of all of the "buzz" around crowdsourced translations? I know I was getting tired of it. It's too much, too repetitive, and too irrelevant to our business.
That is - I was bored until earlier this week, when I stumbled upon Evernote's crowdsourcing efforts.
Evernote is a two-year-old software startup whose products allow you to "remember everything" by taking notes, snipping web text, and amassing voice memos from your PC, Mac, phone, you name it. Even though I haven't used the tool, two million folks out there are using it, and the company's product is getting good reviews. Too small for the big localization companies, clients like Evernote have provided steady work and good margins to many a smaller software localization provider.
Apparently, those days are gone.
About a year after its founding, the company announced "We Want to Speak Your Language" and, noting that localizing software is "a tremendous task", asked users and the world at large for translation help.
The most amazing thing about this? Responses to the company's request for help have been extremely positive. So positive, in fact, that the company seems to have greatly expanded its goal and now has localization efforts underway in 16 languages.
Now Evernote is, I am sure, a fine company with a good product. But it's a for-profit company and unlike Facebook's crowdsourced translation efforts it doesn't support "a community". I am truly astonished that they are able to pull this off.
This doesn't bode well for:
- Small, non-specialized software localization providers who have relied on smaller software developers for revenue; if Evernote can do it, I would expect any "B2C" software company can have a go at crowdsourcing translations;
- Freelance translators who have built-up a practice around this type of work and end-clients; they are being displaced by translators (professional or not) who do it for the fun of it - "digital sharecroppers".
...the sharecroppers operate happily in an attention economy while their overseers operate happily in a cash economy. In this view, the attention economy does not operate separately from the cash economy; it's simply a means of creating cheap inputs for the cash economy.There is a whole lot of hurt coming to parts of the translation business...
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Categories: software localization