Monday, September 12, 2011

Wikipedia Motivations

Over at Blogging about translation and localization, Julie McDonald Dolmaya has concluded her series of posts about crowdsourced translators who have translated for Wikipedia. Most of them are Advanced Native Translators, who declare explicitly that they’ve had no training in translating.

Her final post deals with motivations. These turn out to be complex, and often multiple even in the same person.
“Some saw it as an opportunity to disseminate information about certain language, cultural or religious groups (e.g. Guatemalans, Sri Lankans) to people within or outside these communities; others wanted to give back to communities or organizations they believed in (for instance, by helping other Wikipedians, by giving free/open-source software a wider audience).”
She divides the motivations into two categories, intrinsic (done not for a reward but rather for enjoyment or due to a sense of obligation to the community) or extrinsic (done for a direct or indirect reward).
“But intrinsic reasons seem most prominent. This is undoubtedly why, when respondents were asked to select just one reason for participating in a crowdsourced translation initiative, 47% chose ‘To make information available to language speakers‘, 21% said they found the project intellectually stimulating, and 16% wanted to support the organization that launched the initiative.”
This reinforces what has often been said on this blog, namely that a major part of the translating done in the world, even when it requires expertise, is not done for remuneration, i.e. professionally. And furthermore that a great deal of it is done for personal enjoyment.

I won’t try to summarise more because Julie herself is bringing out an article in The Translator. But The Translator is a conventional academic journal, so we’ll have to wait until next year for the article to appear.

There’s a link to Blogging about translation and localization on the right of this page.

For the journal The Translator, go to

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