From October 26 to 28, TED Translators participated in LocWorld32, a conference for the international translation and localization community. Held in Montréal, LocWorld32, for the first time since the conference’s inception, conducted a panel on volunteer-driven translation; TED’s Krystian Aparta joined panelists from Facebook and Mozilla to explore a number of questions concerning community-based translation projects: What motivates volunteers to contribute to projects? How is project quality managed in volunteer-driven translation communities? What is the personal impact of such communities on their volunteers?
The panelists agreed that translation communities are primarily motivated by the desire to share compelling translations with as large an audience as possible. In addition, the grassroots structures of many of these communities encourage volunteer feedback and suggestions that help the communities continually adapt and evolve in ways that most non-volunteer translation communities cannot. But perhaps the most significant conclusion the panelists reached is that it’s essential for TED Translators and other organizations involved in volunteer-driven translation to provide ongoing robust support to their contributors in order for translation communities to thrive.