Medium’s Approach To Translation

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Medium is one of the hottest startups these days. Millions of investments, great online presence, tight-knit community of ridiculously talented authors. No wonder. With Evan Williams (Twitter Co-Founder, for those of you who don’t know), Medium is trying to change our perception of modern-day blogging. Quite successfully, I must say. Medium has a unique design and surprisingly high-quality content. They have recently launched their Translator Program where they’re inviting anyone who speaks foreign languages to join them on a fascinating journey to global success. What are they paying you for your efforts? Nothing. It’s a voluntary program. That’s quite a risky approach in my humble opinion. Of course, it will be nice for all the newbies out there to get some experience but there is one problem. Medium is suggesting to use machine translation. In fact, before we can even start translating, Medium will pre-translate the story using the power of Google Translate “to get you started“. This is where the problem starts. It’s not quite clear how will they manage the quality of such “translations”. Their content is sometimes quite difficult to translate even for a professional translator, working full time and translating literature. It’s unclear yet how the quality will be managed and weather the authors will have the ability to approve translations prior to publishing them. I personally don’t understand how machine translation could be helpful when it comes to translating Medium’s stories, many of which are very artistic in nature. You can read my opinion about crowdsourced translation and some pitfalls that come with it.

Dmitry Kornyukhov

Entrepreneur. English-Russian Translator. Video game localization specialist. Helping small and medium-sized businesses go global. Loving every minute of it.


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