AMTA 2010 Workshop -- Collaborative Translation: technology, crowdsourcing, and the translator perspective

Edit Section

Edit Section

Workshop description

Edit Section


This is the official page for the AMTA 2010 workshop on Collaborative and Crowdsourced Translation, which was held in Denver Colorado, on Sunday October 31st 2010.

Collaborative and social networking technologies like Wikipedia, Facebook and Amazon Mechanical Turk, are having profound effects in many spheres of human activity. Translation is no exception, as evidenced by the recent emergence of collaborative technologies and paradigms such as:

  • Translation teamware: systems that allow multidisciplinary teams of professionals (translators, terminologists, domain experts, revisers, managers) to collaborate on large translation projects, using an agile, grassroots process instead of the more assembly-line, top-down approach found in most translation workflow systems.
  • Collaborative terminology resources: Wikipedia-like platforms for the creation and maintenance of large terminology resources by a crowd of translators, terminologists, domain experts, and even general members of the public.
  • Translation Memory sharing: platforms for large scale pooling and sharing of multilingual parallel corpora between organizations and individuals.
  • Online marketplaces for translators: eBay-like, disintermediated environments for connecting customers and translators directly, with minimal intervention by a middle man.
  • Translation crowdsourcing: Mechanical Turk style systems for splitting translation projects into small chunks, and distributing them across large crowds of mostly amateur translators.
  • Post-editing by the crowd: systems allowing a large crowd of mostly amateurs to correct the output of machine translations systems, to suggest better translations.

The aim of this one-day workshop was to bring together a multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners from both fields of technology and translation, in order to discuss and explore the impact, present and [[|truck accident lawyer]] future, of this type of technology. In particular, we aimed at starting a constructive two-way dialogue between developers and potential users of these technologies. To that effect, the workshop used a participatory, attendee-driven format.

Edit Section


Below is a list of themes that were suggested in the Call for Participation. Participants were encouraged to think about and suggest additional themes at the event.

Impact on the translation profession
Some of these technologies (translation teamware, collaborative terminology resources, Translation Memory sharing, online marketplaces) present clear benefits and new opportunities for professional translators. But others (translation crowdsourcing, post-editing by the crowd) could present a threat to their livelihood. How can professional translators prepare for these developments? Will these technologies decrease demand for professionals, or will they increase the pie and be used only for content which currently is not being translated at all (for example, by allowing speakers of small languages like Haitian Creole, to translate content that is particularly relevant to them)? Will professional translators still play a remunerated role, even in cases where tasks are crowdsourced to amateurs (for example, by performing quality assurance or coaching the amateurs)? Which skills/computer resources/qualifications are needed for staying in the business of translation in this new context?

Impact on translation technology
How could these technologies be used to improve the performance of machine translation systems? Can millions of people, professional translators and amateurs, teach machines how to do a better job at translating? Can machines be used to facilitate collaboration between humans, for example by connecting customers with translators who seem particularly suited for a given translation project? In a crowdsourcing context, how should we adapt tools originally developed for professionals, so that they are better suited to the specific needs and limitations of amateurs?

Quality assurance and appropriateness of the technology
All of the above technologies lead to environments which are more grassroots, and less tightly controlled from the top than is typical found in most professional contexts. This is true even of technologies that specifically target professionals. What effect does that have on quality? How can we characterize circumstances where such collaboration will increase quality, instead of decreasing it? How should these technologies be used in contexts with different quality requirements, ranging from “fit for gisting” to “fit for dissemination” quality? Can quality assurance itself be done collaboratively? How can tools be designed to make the crowd collectively smarter than its individuals (wisdom of crowds effect), instead of having it act as a mindless mob?

Co-development and mutual understanding between stakeholders
How do we foster constructive dialog between stakeholders, to ensure that these technologies reach a balance point that meets their respective needs? How can developers learn more about professional translators and their work, in order to build collaborative environments that leverage the unique skills of that constituency? How can professional translators and their customers learn more about the possibilities offered by these new technologies, so that they can use them to improve productivity while still ensuring fair compensation and quality? How can professional translators reach out to translation buyers to make them understand the benefits and limitations of such technologies (e.g., why would it not be a good idea to crowdsource translation of a patent)?

Edit Section

Workshop Committee

The workshop committee consisted of the following people:
Members of the committee played an active role in planning the workshop, setting the agenda, and, in some cases, light-reviewing of a few position papers (see below on this page for a list of those papers).
Edit Section


Edit Section


The following people participate in the actual event in Denver.

Last NameFirst NameTitle and Affilliation
DésiletsAlainNational Research Council of Canada (workshop chair)
MunroRobStanford University (keynote speaker)
ZetzscheJostInternational Writers Group (keynote speaker)
BaerNaomiDirector Microloan Translation and Review,
BurgettWillIntel Corp
Callison-BurchChrisJohns Hopkins University
ChenJiangpingUniversity of North Texas
DendiVikramMicrosoft Research
HardtDanielCopenhagen Business Scool
HartmannNicholasPresident, ATA
HollandRodThe MITRE Corporation
HwangYoung-SookSK Telecom
JuricaVanessaThe MITRE Corporation
KronrodYakovUniversity of Maryland
ParvzDanMITRE Corporation
RacetteDorotheePresident Elect, ATA
RiedlJohnTranslating Cultures LLC
SennrichRicoUniversity of Zurich
SeoJin HyungDooBee Inc
SeoYoung AeETRI
ShinDon1-Stop Translation
TenneyMerle, D.Language Technology Consultant
van der MeerJaapTaus
VogelStephanCarnegie Mellon University
KumaranAMultilingual Systems Research, Microsoft Research India
StoellerWilliamDirector accounts, Lingotek (confirmed)

Edit Section

Issues brainstorming and breakout sessions

In order to maximize discussion, the workshop used a facilitated, participatory format. We started with a brief self-introduction by each of the participants. This was followed by a 45 minutes brainstorming exercise where participants expressed issues or thoughts that were on their mind. During the first break, three volunteers collaboratively arranged these issues into clusters of related questions.

The result of this exercise was a "map" of the participants concerns about collaborative/crowdsourced translation, which included the following eight clusters.

Attendees then formed breakout groups to discuss each of those clusters for 60 minutes each. A summary of each breakout discussion is available by clicking on the corresponding link above.
Edit Section

Keynote talks and position papers

We also had two keynote talks:
After Jost's talk, there was an unplanned, impromptu 60 minutes discussion which allowed professional translators and technology developers to share their respective points of view on the issues at hand. Most attendees saw this as the pivotal moment of the workshop. The content of this discussion is documented here:
  • Request to all atttendees: Please Go to this page and writeup what you remember from that discussion:
    • Once it stabilizes, Alain will copy it to the wiki.
Eventhough the format of the workshop did not allow for formal presentation by participants (except for the above two keynotes), attendees were encouraged to write a short position paper in order to prime the pump, and allow participants to become familiar with each other's work before the event. These papers were lightly reviewed by 3 members of the workshop committee, according to the following criteria:
  • Relevance: the paper should be on a topic that is clearly related to the theme of the workshop.
  • Usefulness: content of the paper should be informative and useful for at least one of the following constituencies: developers, translators or translation customers.
  • Style: the paper should be written in a style that is appropriate for an academic publication or trade journal. Although not a strict requirement, we encourage authors to support their arguments with references and empirical evidence whenever possible. Papers which are deemed too commercial or sales-oriented will be rejected. Also, while we welcome essays and opinion papers, the workshop committee reserves the right to reject submissions whose tone is deemed inflammatory or disrespectful.
  • Format and length: papers should have a maximum of 4 pages, and follow the formatting guidelines specified here:
We received the following two papers which were lighly peer-reviewed and approved:

In addition, the following last minute paper was submitted, but was not subject to peer-review:
Also, although it was not submitted specifically for the workshop, the following presentation made by Naomi Baer the week before at the American Translators Association meeting (which was co-located with ATA), was thought to be of interest, so we post it here:
At the end of the day, we held a closing circle, where each participant shared his or her AMTA 2010 Workshop — Insights of the day. It was also felt by all participants that there was a need for this group, or similar multidisciplinary groups of translators and technologists, to meet again to discuss issues of common interest. If you would are interested in participating in such an event, and or, would like to help planning it (even if it's just to make some suggestions), please put some information on this page: Planning a followup to the AMTA 2010 Workshop on Collaborative and Crowdsourced Translation.

Page aliases: AMTA 2010 Workshop

Upcoming Events

No records to display