Minako O’Hagan - Reflections on professional translation in the age of translation crowdsourcing
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Reflections on professional translation in the age of translation crowdsourcing
1. Introduction: setting the scene
This chapter seeks to problematize today’s professional translation in view of the relatively recent development of translation crowdsourcing, which may be labelled under different names such as community translation, collaborative translation or social translation among others (see O’Hagan 2011 and Pym 2011 for further terminological discussions). For the purpose of this chapter the descriptive term translation crowdsourcing is used to refer to a method of procuring translation online by an open call, typically without monetary reward. Crowdsourcing is considered as a form of distributed problem solving by an online crowd (Howe 2008), as demonstrated by Wikipedia, which is written and rewritten by volunteering contributors online mostly in a highly timely fashion. Furthermore, such a call is made not only by non-profit but also by for-profit organizations. The key to successful crowdsourcing is the involvement of a large scale and committed Internet crowd albeit relying on self-selection of contributors for their suitability for the task. Unlike pre-existing forms of volunteer translation in which professional translators would donate their professional skills for a worthy cause, a call for translation crowdsourcing is more likely to attract those who are not trained translators but have a special interest in a given content or are already a user of a certain service that is seeking help.
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