Get Lost in “Translation”! Free Contest!

by Translation Guy on February 8, 2011

Free translations wanted by Adobe (2010 revenue $943,000,000). Adobe is offering “participants an opportunity to translate [for free] Adobe TV Acrobat videos into any language.”

“We’re looking for individuals who can translate Adobe TV Acrobat video content, while maintaining the tone and personality of the original speaker,” writes Lori DeFurio, Group Product Marketing Manager, Acrobat Solutions, on the Acrobat Blog. And did I mention that you have to contribute your services for free? “Adobe TV translators are volunteers and anyone can apply to translate.” So, since you are contributing your services for free, you can imagine the rigorous standards that must apply.

Question number one: “Do you know more than one language? If so, you’d be perfect for the Adobe TV Acrobat Community Translation project!” Wow. That was easy. “Once you’re approved, you can translate as many videos as you’d like.” For nothing.

But wait, I’m being unfair. Even though you have to translate for free, its not for nothing. “We’re giving away small prizes like iTune cards for the great work being produced by our translators.” Double Wow. (That is such a great idea that I’m going to have a contest too. See below for details.) ”The more videos you translate, the better! …for every video each volunteer works on, he or she earns 50 Adobe TV points. Translators with at least 2,000 Adobe TV points will be featured in the Translator Showcase coming soon.” So save those box tops, kids. Work for free on 40 videos and you get showcased. Triple Wow! But kind of a bummer for you translators who work for a living, because your unreasonable demands for compensation exclude you from this most excellent competition. So I’ve got an alternative contest  for those of you lost in translation. Go to the Adobe blog, or anywhere else for that matter, and post a comment, then send me the link. Whoever has the best comment will get the cheapest iTunes card I can find as a special prize. Post 40 such comments and you will get a showcase on TranslationGuy. And best of all, you don’t have to translate a single line for free!

I should add that this offer from Adobe to allow translators to work for free is restricted to Adobe tutorials. So the reason Adobe figures they don’t have to pay for this translation is because it’s only customer support. Customer service guys have discovered that users do better as user guides and tutorials than the guys who designed them. Plus it’s a lot cheaper if you can get people to write your documentation for you, especially if you melt down our UI every time you launch a new version. So by that logic, makes sense that volunteers can translate for them for free also. Perfect opportunity for translators who devote their public service efforts to helping Adobe’s bottom line rather than servicing the public, you know, for health information in underserved communities, world peace, etc., stuff like that.


  1. Frank K. says:

    Hi Ken,

    I just tested the waters with a rather docile post over at the Adobe blog, but it seems it is held up in moderation. We’ll see if they approve the comment :-)

  2. TheOne says:

    Cool little contest Ken!

  3. Rini says:

    There was an announcement also in another Adobe blog:

  4. Jorgen_James says:

    I also posted on the Adobe blog Ken, but it seems as though they are not approving our comments! What kind of blog does Adobe have??!?! I thought they would be much more open to customer engagement than this…

  5. Morgan12 says:

    I also posted… it looks like this contest won’t work if Adobe is going to be such douche bags about it..

  6. This is a disgrace, how can they be so ‘head in the clouds’. Do they actually think that us quality translators are going to simply do work for free??… Or wait, for a gift card!!?!?!?

  7. Be very careful with this false sense of security. When you leave the walled garden of Facebook for a non-secure app, Facebook WILL warn you that you’re going to a non-secure page, however…

    What Facebook does not tell you is that by doing so, the “Always use HTTPS” option for your account is turned-off, and it will be as if you never enabled it on future visits.

  8. Facebook deserves what they get IMHO

    • Ken says:

      Is this what you had in mind, Sherry? “Facebook, the popular social networking site, has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a deal that values the company at $50 billion, according to people involved in the transaction.” NYT Jan 1, 2011

  9. Bull Cheeze says:

    Woah, Adobe sux.

  10. Niney-Hiney says:

    Its true that facebook security sucks =(
    They should pay more attention towards this.

  11. Erin Finch says:

    I wonder if Adobe has taken a look at this post yet. It calls them out pretty harshly

  12. Way to go Ken. Once again, you’re keeping it real for the little guys out here on the ground. Amen brother!

  13. Mr. Thug says:

    OK, seriously, you have got to be fking joking. Who wastes all their time on FB..?

  14. Puppy says:

    I hate Adobe!

  15. Long live MAC :-)

  16. McDaddy says:

    Facebook is a scam period.

    Run as a covert signals data application for NSA to collect SIGINT from.

    The sooner the Average Joe clocks onto this the sooner Facebook will fall.

    The problem is most folks don’t even know what NSA is or what SIGINT is, so there are huge barriers to get by before the Average Joe will even begin to realise the bigger picture of Facebook.

  17. This man should have a capital offense..

  18. Wow, Adobe has sunk to a new low..

  19. Shannon Bray says:

    Crowdsource translation is a terrible idea. Ken, you’ve touched on it numerous times and no one else seems to get it. HEY BIG ORGANIZATIONS, ARE YOU LISTENING TO KEN? Frustrating to say the least…

    • Ken says:

      Shannon if they ever start listening, I’m in big trouble.

  20. Hughie Luas says:

    Can’t people contribute to Adobe and non-profit causes at the same time? Seems like you have no insight into why people volunteer services in either space.

    • Ken says:

      While translators can contribute to both Adobe and non-profits, it is not possible to do both at the one time. You’ve got to be a lawyer to pull of that kind of double billing.

  21. céline says:

    This is the comment I left on the blog. It hasn’t been published yet.

    “So you’re not prepared to spend some money on your communications with your non-Anglophone customers. Does it mean that you don’t value them?”

  22. Looks like they are indeed holding up comments. Here’s the one I submitted :

    Errr…good luck with that, Adobe!

    The first French video I watched (“Tapping into gestures” => poorly translated as “Utilisez les gestes” or “Use gestures”) is substandard to say the least.
    “Touch devices” is translated as “appareils sensibles au toucher” (totally awkward – nobody would ever say that) instead of “appareils tactiles”. The detailed touch-screen vocabulary like “pinch” and “swipe” is totally glossed over (it is simply not translated…”zoom” is the only word the amateur translator attempted, probably because it is also “zoom” in French!)…and that’s just in the first minute of the video. I have a feeling that French users of the software would rapidly tire of (and possibly become annoyed with) the awkward, inaccurate language in the videos. Imagine trying to put the tips into practice if you can’t even understand the language!

    Nice way to alienate your French-speaking customers, Adobe!

    Seriously, this is a prime example of the limitations of crowdsourcing. I would have expected Adobe TV to rank a little higher in terms of what gets marketing budget at Adobe. By failing to take the translation aspect of the project seriously, Adobe is basically flushing all of the marketing dollars used to develop the site down the toilet and zapping any chance of ROI on their foreign markets. Instead of investing in professionally-executed translation to leverage this great marketing tool for foreign markets, Adobe is actually putting its image at risk on those markets…effectively holding a lit match to the suitcases of money spent to develop the Adobe TV site.

    When will marketers stop looking at translation as a cost to be cut and start looking at it as a value-added tool to better leverage for overseas markets the substantial investments made to conceive of and develop a global campaign?

  23. Jim says:

    TranslationGuy, what would you have charged to translate the videos?

    • Ken says:

      More than it would be worth. Production work adds up fast. $50 a minute? Something like that? I’m just guessing. That’s why user-generated content has to be translated by volunteers.

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