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Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Crowdsourcing" means translators will work for free

The history of the localization industry in the internet era has been the story of the race to free translation. This may be good for business, but linguists have always been aware that the expensive tools offered to them are designed to reduce what they have to be paid.

This started with expensive TM tools that had the dual effect of costing a fortune up front and then discounting repetitions--the grid of which gets tighter and tighter for the linguist with each year.

Now we have crowdsourcing, the holy grail of the industry, where linguists log on to a system (creating "systems" is another holy grail) and work for a vastly discounted rate--or even for free--to complete work in record time.

There's hardly a localization firm out there that has not contemplated a future where it gets to charge big bucks to its clients, but then gets all the work done for practically nothing by Wikipedia-style editors who, for some reason, want to do it for free.

All of this was brought to mind by this interesting thread on Slashdot: Steam Translation Community Slaving Away

It is interesting to note that the open source community supports this sort of model as being compatible with the development of community driven software such as Linux.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Press releases we see too often

Localization press releases and newsletters come fast and furious these days as those in the industry attempt to drum up business in the face of an uncertain future. Most of these efforts have very little to offer to clients or resources and many unintentionally demonstrate the odd thinking that pervades the industry.

Here are a few of types of press releases we have seen that make us smile (and sometimes shake our heads in disbelief):

Localization company congratulates itself for having a blog
(…shares favorite recipes of their accounting staff in an attempt to solve the problems of their clients)

Localization company appears at localization convention
(…where they spend the shareholders’ money speaking to other firms about options for future jobs once their own company goes broke)

Localization company in the U.S. boasts that they have a project manager who lasts more than six months
(…has been driven partially insane by sales though)

Focus on standards dooms LISA – as a result, GALA jumps on board the standards bandwagon
(…everyone know that bureaucracy equals quality, right?)

Localization company revamps its website
(…and it still looks no different than any other localization company site)

Localization company trumpets its new accounting system
(…now promises to pay translators after 6 months—if they complain enough)