Gamification and Crowdsourcing in Translation

A while ago I wrote a post on crowd sourcing and how the idea has been implemented into our industry particularly in web translation. Sites like Duolingo that use crowd-sourcing to translate the web, are also implementing the idea of gamification into their model. The idea of gamification is to increase people’s interaction and motivation to an otherwise mundane task. The gamification process,  by using badges for accomplished work is used as a form of reward as you advance and accomplish the task. Taken from the gaming industry, the idea of badges, points, and other rewards, has demonstrated to increase interaction, participation and engagement in the social media world.  So much so, that there re businesses implementing the idea in their marketing efforts. Duolingo also has another great incentive as well : learning a language while helping translate the web.  It is a brilliant combination one that truly works hand in hand.

Another example of  gamification and crowdsourcing in translation is Twitter. When I first saw the Twitter Translation Center, I actually  looked into it in order to participate (at that time I had no idea what crowdsourcing was nor did I know that it was on a voluntary basis) and they also use the same badge system that Duolingo uses, the only difference is that Duolingo uses it to measure progress rather than task completed as in the case of Twitter. The best quality translations get voted and you are rewarded a badge in your profile.  According to the Twitter  site, you have to rank among the 20%  to receive one and your translations are voted among your peers  for accuracy and relevance.  I don’t know how much of a motivation that is for me really. As a professional, I cannot imagine the level of proficiency and accuracy these translation can actually have when in the case of  Duolingo they  are being translated by beginners and intermediate students of a particular language. It does have the advantage that instead of using machine translation, (which is equally as bad) they actually use translators.

Other examples of this new gamification idea  is Foursquare where they reward their visitors with badges too or name them “mayors” whenever you visit a place often . I believe this is the biggest example of the idea  although it is a purely social site Yet,  in the end there is a monetary reward by deducting a certain percentage off your bill if you frequent a  place enough. (Great publicity for the  venue, and not spending a dime in advertising) . Other than social media I do not see a place other than the gaming industry for the use of the system, particularly in business and marketing.  Other than in sales , I guess where you have to reach a certain  goal, this system would be flawed in other areas.  Yet, now they are hosting gamification summits to help business improve engagement. Mine however do not come in the forms of badges. and furthermore, other than the examples above gaming and translation do not go together, however gamification and crowdsourcing seem to go hand in hand. (Why else would you contribute?)

To a certain extend, Linkedin had done it as well by placing the status bar of completeness in your profile. I have read that is truly not an example of gamification and I have to agree to a certain degree. What gamification does is offer incentives to have you complete a task not necessarily to say how far you are on your task, which is what the status bar indicates. Yet, they put it as an example . There are other examples of course but I wanted to keep it relevant to our industry and how this gamification idea coupled with crowdsourcing is affecting to a degree our competitive edge.