Every “Crowd” has its silver lining…Understanding the advantages of using the Crowd

Part 4 – Traditional vs. Crowd translations

Content repurposed courtesy of Lingotek, www.lingotek.com

In part 3 we explained the various channels for translating your content. We implied that sometimes your crowd may be able to translate your high-value content as accurately and consistently as using a traditional translator. Today we’ll explore that idea in more depth.
Why crowd-based translations can be better than traditional translations
Lingotek has done a number of studies to evaluate if a crowd translation can be as consistent and accurate as a traditional translation. See eBay – Traditional vs. Crowd

The results indicate that not only can a crowd translation be as good, but in some instances it can be better than the traditional translation. Community members often understand the subtleties, nuances, and colloquialisms of subject-matter content much better than a detached traditional translator. While it’s possible to use a specialized translator that understands a specific content area, they can be hard to find and are often much more expensive.

In addition to the specialized knowledge that a community contributes to a translation, there are also new technologies that assist in ensuring the quality and consistency of collaborative translations.

One technology that enables consistency and accuracy across a large number of translators is called Translation Memory (TM). As the volunteers translate content, the translations of key words and phrases are stored in a database. As those words and phrases re-occur through the translation process the previous translations are automatically suggested. Reviewers can select a specific translation as the correct or preferred translation so that it is used across the entire project. Not only does this maintain quality and consistency, it also significantly accelerates the translation process.

Another technology is called Translation Glossaries. A translation glossary is a database of translated words and phrases specific to a topic or industry. As with Translation Memories, the approved translated words and phrases are automatically suggested to the translators in real time.

The third technology that helps ensure quality is workflow management. The proper workflow management platform will allow the project manager to monitor the progress of the translation in real time with sentence-level detail. The manager can designate reviewers in the form of a highly-skilled volunteer or professional to monitor the quality of the translations as they occur. The reviewer monitors the Translation Memories and selects the most accurate translation for specific words and phrases to be used throughout the scope of the project. He can also rate the quality of certain translated segments so that the translators can see good examples and learn from each other. Doing so raises the quality level of the project across all translators.

The virtuous translation cycle
The right translation platform helps you maintain quality across a large group of translators by becoming smarter as the translation progresses. The platform enables a virtuous cycle:

  1. The platform learns from the translators as they translate.
  2. As the platform builds its database of Translation Memories, it improves its recommendations of translated words and phrases that are presented to the translators.
  3. As translators use the recommended words and phrases, the quality improves and becomes more consistent. As the translators learn from each other the data being fed to the platform improves.
  4. The improved data enriches the Translation Memories and the cycle continues.

Both the quality of the platform recommendations and the translators themselves continually improve.