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Surviving crowdsourcing


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Community, collaborative, social. Will the language industry survive crowdsourcing? …

Community, collaborative, social. Will the language industry survive crowdsourcing?
Presentation for the XXXIV IALB-ASTTI Conference "The World in Crisis – And the Language Industry?"
Geneva, 13-14 November 2009

Published in: Education, Business, Technology

  • Great paper Luigi! Is it possible to get a printable copy? I would like to have a bunch of PhD students in translation read that paper in a class where I will lecture, but it's pretty cumbersome to read on slideshare.
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  • My dangerous idea is that crowdsourcing could be accomplished by a lottery. See my Knol article entitled: Keystroke Lotteries: Typing for Tickets:
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  • 1. Community, collaborative, social: will the language industry survive crowdsourcing? Luigi Muzii
  • 2. Thinking
    • We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
  • 3. Reminds you of anything?
  • 4. The approach to crises
    • Conservative
      • Typical of the language services industry
        • Any change is a major change
        • Cut cost and reduce staff
        • Do more with less
    • Innovative
      • In products
        • Translation is a cost
          • VAS
      • In processes
        • Standards and interchange to build productive solutions
        • Specialized communities
        • Made simpler, lean, and parallel
  • 5. GILT industry mantra
    • Cheaper, Faster, Better
      • Doing more with less costs more
        • Technology to increase volume and speed
          • Not enough good people in translation
            • Poor or no quality increase
            • Customer satisfaction decrease
  • 6. Translation industry axioms
    • Quality
      • Fewer translators produce more consistent output
    • Assets
      • Are TM’s and glossaries assets? Have they ever been? Will they?
      • Assets carry some value
        • How can TM’s and glossaries be priced? Are they?
  • 7. Main concerns
    • LSP’s
      • Ongoing commoditization
      • More free translation
    • ATA’s*
      • Global outsourcing
      • Crowdsourcing
      • Economic downturn
      • Certification by other entities
      • Machine translation
      • Increased competition for revenue streams
      • International expansion
      • Licensure
    * ATA Board’s globalization threats reported in the ATA Chronicle issue of June, 2009 by President Jiri Stejskal
  • 8. Vendor management
    • The largest cost budget item
      • Hundreds or thousands of vendors
        • Technology & staff
      • Vendor quality assessment
        • Several vendor manager
          • Rotation for healthy relationships
  • 9. Crowdsourcing
    • The act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call.
      • Jeff Howe
      • The Rise of Crowdsourcing, June 2006
  • 10. Crowdsourcing in a nutshell
    • The (latent) wisdom of (online) crowds
      • Only the best professionals are supposed to answer call and team up
        • A passionate and motivated force of volunteers is needed
          • The work is not supposed to be done for free
  • 11. The crowdsourcing process in eight steps Image by Daren C. Brabham
  • 12. Reasons for crowdsourcing
    • To reach totally new markets
    • To better serve markets that are currently under-served
    • To increase the value of global brands by further engaging users
  • 13. Famous crowdsourcers
  • 14. Typical practice Customer MLV SLV 1 Language 1, region 1 TSP n Language n , region n SLV n Language n , region n TSP 1 Language n , region n TSP n Language 1, region 1 TSP 1 Language 1, region 1
  • 15. Community, crowdsourced, and collaborative translation (CT3)
    • CT3 projects typically done on purpose-built software
      • Developing those systems is expensive
        • Effort could not be worth the investment
      • Community (social) translation not the same as crowdsourced translation
        • Non-profit translations
          • Made for the benefit of everyone
  • 16. The problem with translators
    • Building a software infrastructure vs. paying translators
      • The translators’ skills are not worth spending
        • Amateurs collaborate to avoid “weird” translations
  • 17. Crowdsourced translation
    • Multiple people in a collaborative workspace
      • Writing
        • Supply content to be translated
      • Terminology
        • Provide a terminology list up front
      • Translation
        • Stay involved in community interaction
        • Communicate everything upwards
        • Monitor progress
      • Review/Editing
        • Leverage group voting mechanisms for accuracy
          • Recognize and reward achievement
  • 18. The end of TEP & fordism
    • Reduce, reuse, recycle
      • Reduce overhead
        • Eliminate duplicate and unproductive work
      • Reuse terminology and translation
        • Centralized TM’s and dictionaries
      • Recycle TM matches
        • Machine translation
    • Time adds up
      • Micro chunks
        • Efficient workload
          • Negligible individual time
      • No need for reviewers
        • X-checks to deliver high-quality translations
          • No further “improvements”
  • 19. Crowdsourcing vs. Machine Translation according to Mojofiti
    • Crowdsourcing
      • Advantages
        • Free, abundance of knowledgeable human translators, 100% accurate translations, demonstrates an openness to the public
      • Disadvantages
        • Security measures must be in place, content accuracy reviews (especially from a cultural perspective), no full-time “staff” to count on
    • Machine Translation
      • Advantages
        • Fast time to market, machine translation servers can be used for a variety of applications, flexibility to change content as often as you wish
      • Disadvantages
        • Generally very costly (based on the number of “language pairs” and sometimes overall use), machine translations often leave out cultural references, evolving industry – no machine translation service has been able to promise 100% accurate translations, yet.
  • 20. The perfect translation team
    • Experts and fellow translators coordinated by a project manager for information transfer
      • Error prevention
        • Doing right the first time every time
          • Education and training play different roles in a translator’s profile
            • Dissociate domain-specific knowledge from language skills and productivity skills
  • 21. Concurrent Translation
  • 22. Community Review
  • 23. Quality
  • 24. Issues
    • Crowdsourcing initiatives can be dangerous when cost is volume based
    • Tools for creating and updating content
      • One-fits-all internationalization strategy
    • Trust and authoritativeness of translators
    • Searchability and accessibility of reference material
    • Bootstrapping and incentives to participation
    • Ownership of material
    • Compensation
  • 25. Pays…
  • 26. Money matters
    • Gresham's law
      • Bad money drives out good
        • If translators are paid low it is hard to get qualified people
    • LSP’s share the same pool of resources
      • Testing freelancers is expensive and not reliable
        • Better to just do small test project
    • Shorten production and industry chains
  • 27. The rise of “ freeconomics ”
    • In a competitive market, price falls to the marginal cost
      • In the translation industry, unit cost is close to zero and will continue to decline
    • Freemium
      • Some software and related services, some content
        • Free to users of basic versions
    • Cross-subsidy
      • Give away services to one customer while selling to another
        • Treat them as if they were free
    • Attention and reputation economy
  • 28. What is your dangerous idea?
    • The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time.
  • 29. Thank you
    • [email_address]
    • Skype: luigimuzii
    • Blog:
    • Twitter: