A New Twist to Crowdsourcing Translations

In last year’s entry on crowdsourcing – A Few Questions to Ask When Crowdsourcing a Translation – I raised the question of whether it is possible to guide and control an online community. Facebook recently found out that working with an online community can be pretty tricky when a group of Turkish volunteer translators decided to have some fun with Facebook’s Translations application (which depends on users to vote for the most accurate translations for each piece of text). The “translators” substituted assorted profanities and insults for a number of words and phrases that are commonly used across the Facebook platform. For example, Facebook’s IM error message was rendered in Turkish as, “Your message could not be sent because of your tiny penis.” I guess it is also important to consider the crowd’s intentions when asking it to help out for free.

By Jiri Stejskal
CETRA Language Solutions