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Friday, July 20, 2012

Should You Start Translating for Free? Or Even Pay for the Privilege?

Linguists are being squeezed more than ever these days, even to the point of translating for free for the good of the "cloud."

Now Lionbridge takes it to a new level--you pay them to be able to bid on project of a certain number of words. It's GeoWorkz Marketplace and there are varying licenses based on the number of words you want to translate.

It may be that it is hard to tout this system properly as the concept is so counter-intuitive. One of the bizarre selling points of this license is that there is "zero maintenance and upgrade costs, and the ability to pay as you go."

From a business perspective, it could be one of those ideas that needs to be tried every once in awhile. You take a given--you have to pay people for their labor--and posit "what would happen if the opposite were true? What if we make individuals pay up front for an opportunity to provide labor to us?"

After all, the industry is trying to move professional linguists to give away work in a "cloud" for free (or close too it). It is a small step to then see if they can make linguists pay up front to provide translation.

All this came to mind when we found this great article: 7 Reasons Why I Can’t Do “Free”

It makes a number of good points and should cheer linguists who see their livelihoods slipping away as cash-strapped localization companies move to various cloud systems.

We never understood why any end client with critical projects would want a "global crowdsource" working on their critical marketing, legal, and technical documentation.

But apparently they do. Many localization companies tout their crowd-sourcing right on their websites.

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