There is a great need for improved translation technology. Companies can expand globally only as fast as they have the resources to support each new country or language. For many companies large and small, the time and money involved in the localization effort can be a prohibiting factor in choosing to expand.

Why the Traditional Translation Model is Broken

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There are three main problems with the traditional translation model.

First, the time and cost of engaging a professional translator at any significant level are prohibitive to all but the largest corporations. The relatively short supply of professional translators keeps the cost-per-word high at roughly US$ .23 per word. Projects are hard to monitor and often take weeks or months to complete.

Second, there is a lack of tools to help people translate content in its native environment on the web. Many translation projects are still using a paradigm of delivering content to be translated in a word processing document. The process of transferring content from the web to a document and then transferring the translated results back to the web again is extremely time consuming, inconvenient and prone to error.

Third, even utilizing the entire pool of professional translators that currently exists, there is no way for them to keep up on the sheer volume of information available to translate. The supply of content by far outpaces the supply of professional translators.

In addition, there is no efficient way to determine which content to translate and into what languages thus risking wasting time translating content that isn’t in demand and won’t be consumed by the target audience.

Crowdsourcing Translation is the Answer

By using new technologies to crowdsource translations you can overcome the inadequacies of the traditional translation model and make translated content available to even the smallest organizations and self-publishers.

By crowdsourcing translations you draw upon an almost unlimited pool of bi-linguals who are willing to contribute for little to no money. In a corporate environment, existing communities who are eager for global expansion may volunteer their time to translate needed content. Even on a paid basis, crowdsourcing translations costs a fraction of industry average at more like US$ .02 per word versus US$ .23.

With cloud-based translation tools, the ability to translate and publish translated content can be embedded into the native web environment like Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle WebCenter, Jive Software, Drupal and others. Going where the content exists eliminates the need for copying and pasting content. This also enables volunteers to translate desired content immediately upon identifying the need without being forced through a separate process or login.

Finally, by leveraging the knowledge of the crowd the massive amounts of information available can be sorted and prioritized thus enabling the most important content to be translated into the languages where it’s most needed. This greatly lowers inefficiencies in translating erroneous content into languages where it’s not needed. In addition, with the large pool of bi-lingual volunteers, there is no longer a limitation of translation resources.

Image courtesy of Cleo (Shutterstock).

Editor's Note: To read more of Rob Vandenberg's articles: