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Should Translation Crowdsourcing Be Done for Free?

Recently, LinkedIn and other sites such as Facebook and Plaxo received much fury from the people involved in professional translation. The brows were raised due to a survey sent out to gather data on language people's ideas about crowdsourcing, community, and collaborative human translation.

Freelancers in the professional translation field thought in unfair to offer such a service when they are doing business out of it. In a way, a couple hundreds of those in the translation service felt violated that LinkedIn and the rest are trying to give out an impression that anyone who can speak/write two or more languages could easily pass up as a translator and do so without having to charge any the way language experts do.

LinkedIn's defense is that, what they are doing is actually just soliciting efforts from their end-users towards the localization of their sites. They are not asking to have a full-pledged document translated. They are merely asking the Internet community to provide a localized interpretation of some phrases on the site to make them (the end users) become more comfortable with the arena they move around in. They see it as just an effort to build quality within the site through collaboration with the very users who will benefit from it.

Moreover, they don't think they are taking away any from freelance translators and every person involved in professional translation for that matter. They (professional translators) remain the unanimous choice for the clients they used to getting. They choose not to follow the normal process of human translation, editing, and proofreading, merely because they think there is barely a need to do so.

LinkedIn maintains that they are expending no cost for such a gain. In fact, they say, like any kind of business, managing the site costs some investments on their part. Regardless, however, whether the sites spend for such an effort or not, some researches that arrived afterwards show that LinkedIn and the rest keeps high regard to human translation as a profession. They even employ in-house translators for what they call as 'traditional projects'.

It remains to be seen whether both parties are going to resolve this conflict in the end. After all, such a statement was dropped that crowdsourcing is here to stay. Observers say that crowdsourcing translation, also known as CT3, is a product of a technological advancement, which we get pretty much too often these days.


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