A blog about translation, language, literature, and other related topics. Updated every approximately every five days.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Recently, a number of companies have contacted me to ask me to advertise their new free crowdsourcing translation services. I suppose I don’t feel willing to do this, because I am suspicious of just how well such services can work.
For example, many of us look at Wikipedia for information, but we know that it isn’t always accurate, so we always make sure we check the info against other sites or texts. Would people do that with translations as well? Would they have the ability to do so?
Also, how can non-professional translators understand all the language and context in a given text? How can they know exactly what is involved in translation work? Would you let a crowd of people operate on you, just because it was free and they thought they’d know how to do it? No? Then why let a crowd of people translate your texts?
One of these websites even wrote to me to say that besides their free option, they also allow “customers” the option of paying for a better service, one that “allow[s] users of their programs to opt for a more accurate and professional level of translation through hybrid translation, if they so choose.” If you want “a more accurate and professional level of translation”, why not pay a translator? You know, the old-fashioned method of getting a translation done.
Originally from Chicago, I lived in southern Sweden for nearly 5.5 years, and moved to southern Wales in September 2006. I completed a Ph.D. translation studies in June 2009 at Swansea University, with a dissertation on the translation of children's literature.
Now I live in Norwich, England, where I am a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and I also work as a translator, writer, and editor.
Contact me at bravenewwords (AT) gmail (DOT) com.