What have I learned from Translating Webmaker.org with 65 Thai translators?


Chaos.... This is the first thing I wanted to say because one person versus sixty people... obviously is not an easy job, but so far I have learned a lot and I figured I should share my experiences about this.

First, let me give you some background on how this begins....
As you may or may not know that I've been working on the Localization on Webmaker.org and I've started this since June 2013. The localizing status of the project I can say it is done and we are at the point where we can get start and let the community help and translate them into various of languages.

We had a meeting (Igor, David Humphrey, Matthew and I) at CDOT about what is the next approach and do we want people to start translating the strings right away or what is the right thing to do? We have over 19,000 words to translate for all of our projects (Webmaker.org, Goggles, Thimble, and Popcorn Maker) that 19,000 words really is not a small number at all. In the meeting we have come to a conclusion that we will first do an in-house translation first. Which it means Igor will translate that 19,000 words to Russian  and I will translate that to Thai.

Now the story really begun where I used to have my blog in Thailand and I got fans over 35,000 peoples on Facebook and 2,100 people on Twitter following my Apple's blog. I have thought that it may be a good idea to also have some (really I didn't think of over 65 people) to come and help me do the translation. Is not that I'm lazy or something, but I thought that having many people translating one language it will really give me some experience about how to handle any of the unexpected situations and let me list you what experiences that I have learned from this "Chaos".

  1. Community Building
    This one was something I really felt I'm doing very well on because I had that over 30,000 people followed my blog before and making more isn't something I find it challenge much, but getting people to work for free? This is something you have to be very good to ask for help without paying them.

2. Patience
I have learned how to be patience even more after working with 65 people because of many reasons, and one of them its because they are new to the project and they need someone to explain and help them.

  1. Supportive
    Being supportive it's something I've always been doing and with these people you "must" have that and really you have to walk through them and guide them through every single thing that may confused them and will make them feel down and you will lose them if you don't.

4. Trolling?
Over 65 people.... Not everyone will be that perfect translator like you expect. There are teens, adults, male and female and you don't know if their intention is to help or just want to troll, mess around and/or having fun only. I had to deal with one guy because other translators reported that he is doing something which annoyed them and I have to make a decision on how to deal with such a person.

These are just some of the things that I think they are obvious and important to mention and I am sure these exists in many other projects as well.

Overall they are useful experiences because it gets me ready for the big thing which is coming in October (MozFest) plus the whole project in two days almost completed to 100%