If you’re a translator that doesn’t like what you see from machine translation engines, and especially from Google Translate, now you can do more than just complain about.
Did you know that Google Translate has a community feature whereby you can contribute to the translations to make them better?
In this article I’ll walk you through how to do that.
Google Translate Community
The first step is to go to the community website at translate.google.com/community where you’ll see the following screen:
Once here, click on the “Get Started” button in the lower right corner and you’ll be asked to add between two and five languages.
Since I accessed the page in English, that language is already added for me.
Currently, the languages below are the ones you can choose from:
I chose Spanish and Portuguese as my two languages (after English):
Next, you’ll be asked if you want to receive emails about updates on features and events. I don’t need any more emails in my inbox so I chose not to check the box.
Finally, after that screen, you’ll be taken to the main Google Translate Community page.
It’s a pretty simple layout as you can see.
Starting at the top left corner, if you click on the lines next to where it says “Google Translate Community” you’ll be presented with a drop-down menu that gives you some options to change your settings, access the Google Translate Community forum, and some other things.
Across the top of the page, you have your language options.
As you can see, since I chose three languages, the system automatically created tabs for each translation pair. It makes sense that that is how the system does it, but a lot of translators don’t work that way.
Just because I can translate from Portuguese or Spanish to English doesn’t necessarily mean that I can translate in the opposite direction. Regardless, though, the options are there.
Next, let’s look at the right-hand side of the screen where we have two things:
- My Badges
- My Stats (the language pair that shows up here depends on which language tab you have clicked on)
There are currently two badges that you can earn for every language pair:
The first badge is the 100 Club, a badge that you can earn for submitting 100 contributions to Google Translate. The second badge is for merely contributing to Google Translate.
OK, now on to the main part of the system.
You’ll notice that the main area of the screen is divided up into four different quadrants.
When you click on the upper left quadrant, you’re presented with a dialogue box that has a word or phrase in the language that you chose. This was mine for the Portuguese > English language combo:
You’ll notice that it presents a sentence in Portuguese and I’m supposed to translate that sentence into English.
You’ve also got a help button in the top right of the box, a link to “Home” and a “Skip” option if you want to be presented with another translation request.
Well, I like this one so I’m going to translate it and see what happens.
You’ll notice that once you start typing, a plus sign inside a circle pops up in the lower left. If you hit that button, you’ll be able to add another translation to the one you’ve already done.
Once you’ve done one and hit the “Submit” link, then the screen automatically updates and you’re given another translation. This happens until you’ve gone through ten choices (either by translating the sentences or skipping them). Once you’ve gone through those choices, you’re presented with your progress:
Depending on the language combination, you can also take part in validating translations that have already been done previously.
Just click in the second quadrant (upper right) if it has the word “Validate.”
And you’ll be presented with a source language text and a number of different corresponding target language translations that I’m guessing people have submitted. You’re job, then, is to check which ones are good translations and which are not so good.
I’m not sure what the third quadrant (lower left) is for, so if anyone has any idea, leave a note in the comments below. I’m curious!
And then you have the last quadrant (lower right) which just provides links to Facebook, Twitter, and email. If you click on one of those, the system automatically populates an email or message with a link to the Google Translate Community page.
And there you have it. A complete introduction to the Google Translate Community, where you have a chance to help out the Google translation system become better and more accurate.
Then again, if you’re worried that Google is going to take over your job as a freelance translator, maybe you don’t want to help….
P.S. Speaking of which, if you want to become a better freelance translator, be sure to read my book of Translation Rules.