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Translation Services Japan: The broth of crowds

What is Translation Crowdsourcing?

This is an approach (methodology?) to translation where many human translators work on the translation of a source text. Translators respond to an “open call” with each participant being assigned a different section to translate. Now, you’re probably thinking -and with good reason- what does this have to do with my English-to-Japanese translation project?

Here are some of the problems of translation crowdsourcing as listed on Wikipedia, itself a crowdsourcing operation:

  • Technological boundaries
  • Quality
  • Motivation
  • Control

Each of the bullets above DOES have an impact on your project; however, this article will expand on number 2, Quality:

“Research into specifically the quality of Wikipedia[7] “concluded that adding more editors to an article improved article quality only when they used appropriate coordination techniques and was harmful when they did not.”.[3] The most important issue to take into account is the aforementioned unprofessionalism of the open source translators the text is released to, thus creating somewhat variable results.”

With translation crowdsourcing, well, a crowd does the translation. “Translators” are recruited over the Internet and, then, are assigned different sections of material to translate. While crowdsourcing does have advantages when implemented properly, that is not always the case.

The primary issue is “unprofessionalism”.

That is, there is little in the way of vetting processes employed by traditional Translation Services Japan to ensure only qualified Japanese translators, proof-checkers and editors (human translators with university education, practical training, translation tool knowledge, experience, and, most important of all, are experts in their subject matter of choice) get to work on your projects.

Clearly there is much more than meets the eye to translation crowdsourcing operations – Expect a translation broth when crowdsourcing is not implemented properly. Indeed, when implemented thoroughly, translation crowdsourcing starts looking more and more like traditional professional Translation Services Japan
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