A recent press release announced that an online crowdsourcing company offered “an abundance of experienced translators from around the world to provide businesses with easy access to professional translation services”, with “over 100,000 highly skilled native translators”.
The catch, however, lies in the following two statements: employers “request multiple translation samples from any of the 100,000 on-staff translators in less than 24 hours and choose the best translator based on the quality of the sample translation”.
The customer may receive a range of translations, no doubt free of charge, but then has to choose between them. On what criteria one may ask. If they are sufficiently skilled to assess the quality of the translations, then they do not need a translator.
The second statement is that “pricing is set by the employer and includes a flexible rate starting at an entry-level price of 0.029 per word”.
No professional translator anywhere in the western world works for 0.029 per word, unless they are really hard up, in which case either they are so incompetent that they cannot charge any higher, or if their market rates are that low, prefer to do something more profitable (like street cleaning, with no insult meant to people who work on the streets).
The blurb goes on: “For translation needs under 300 words, employers receive multiple final translation works from willing translators in 24 hours, choose the best translation work and pay only for that result. For translation needs over 300 words, employers can request multiple translation samples from their large pool of providers, get results within a 24-hour period, and choose only the most ideal translator to work with for their project.”
This means the “professional” translators are potentially working for nothing, and have nothing better to do than reply to translation requests from clowns who believe that what they are getting is professional. It is in one respect. It is a professional scam.
“Employers can set a budget for the entire job while translation providers submit their work for employers to review, taking into consideration their qualifications and feedback from previous roles.”
This turns around the traditional customer – provider relationship in which the translator submits a quote and is accepted or refused. In this case, it is the customer that sets the price, and the translator can either take it or leave it. No professional translator will take it, and they have already left it.
One of the company’s gullible customers states “After we posted our translation job […] we had multiple professional translators complete our request within a couple hours.”
Remarkable indeed. Professional translators have better things to do than sit around waiting to provide an immediate translation free of charge in the vague hope it will be purchased.
Where translation is concerned, crowdsourcing is clownsourcing, and the term applies both to the ‘translators’ who try to get work through similar sites, and to the customers that use them.
Professional translators simply do not work for prices as low as those on offer (and the service is automatically of the reverse auction type, where the lowest bid gets the deal). It makes translators look like dogs scavenging for scraps. Customers that use translation services of this kind are shelling out good money for bad translations. And the market is rife with examples of the damage done to their reputation and brand as a result.