Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Real-Time Human Translation?

From: PRWeb., an online translation company, has apparently set up a system for providing rapid low-cost translations online.

I have some doubts, however, about the quality one can expect from such a service: digging a bit in their website ("How to work for us"), one finds that, among the types of jobs available there are
  • NonNative - People who are fluent in a language pair but do not have certification and are not a native speaker of that language
  • Native - People who are fluent in a language pair AND are a native speaker in that language pair
  • Professional - People who have had at least 5 years industry experience in that language pair

"Native speaker in that language pair", is a bit unclear, but probably due to no more than some sloppy writing (native speaker of what: SL?, TL?, both of them?), but what is clear is that translations would be done by many people that are neither professional translators nor native speakers of the target language.

Non-native non professionals doing rapid translations: I think that doubts about the resulting quality are legitimate.

UPDATE Margaret Marks is also blogging on this: "...I am thinking of starting a service to deliver translation in less than real time, for instance yesterday."


  1. Interesting. Quality assurance would indeed be quite a challenge, but the need for translation professionals is attested to by the very establishment of such a company.

    There's more communication desired than can be facilitated by existing translation talent. Demand outstrips supply. That's good news for translators, I'd say!

  2. Hi Riccardo,

    I am posting on this. I was e-mailed by a similar service you might like to take a look at.


  3. I had a look at the TranslationBooth website. Couldn't find any indication of an address, phone number, country (they don't even say the laws of which country apply to their Terms & Conditions).

    If you want to apply as a translator, they tell you that payment will be by credit to the "Payment Pouch". Which Payment Pouch?

    This smacks of a rip-off.

  4. only works with qualified (Degree or equivalent), native speaking professional translators.

    The service has contact numbers and a physical address and pays translators weekly via PayPal or Moneybookers.

    It is an ideal way for customers to get a better quality translation than what they would receive from machine translation and for translators to add another source of income.

    The service is aiming to create a good relationship with translators and is open to comments on future development. Just email info[at]

  5. Thank you Riccardo and others for your comments. We at appreciate any feedback that helps improve the usability and overall effectiveness of the Translation Booth website.

    We have now taken your comments on board and are making improvements to clarify what type and level of translators we employ and our payment/cost options. We are also clearly stating what quality standards we employ to ensure the desired results of the customer.

    As you have pointed out we do offer three levels of translation, native, non-native, and professional. The customer chooses which level they require for their translation and it is reflected in the cost.

    We achieve our rapid translation by using the innovative idea of translation sharing. This is where a large document is split (we show the customer where the split’s occur) and more than one translator works on the document at one time. This way we can have a large document translated, in over 800 language pairs, in a matter of hours not days. Of course if you do not have a time constraint we also offer full text translation where only one translator works on the document.

    If you have any comments or queries please don’t hesitate to Contact Us


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