A few weeks ago, I pointed a poisoned pen at Adobe for their graceless grab at the “do my translation for free” ring on the translation carousel. Nothing particularly surprising here, since this move perfectly illustrates the prime directive of the Web, first described by noted social critic Mark Knopfler in “Money for Nothing.” But what really got my goat about it was the whole Tom Sawyer-ish flavor of Lori DeFurio’s pitch as she tried to talk gullible bilinguals into whitewashing her translation fence. “Once you’re approved, you can translate as many videos as you’d like,” she wrote, with the offer of iTunes gift cards.
Now it’s not every day that a boy gets a chance to whitewash a fence, but the cost of living has changed since steamboat days in Hannibal Missouri. So I asked readers to take some of their marbles and pitch ’em at the comments section of the Adobe site, and I promised prizes too—that is, the cheapest iTunes card I could find ($15)—but in typical TranslationGuy fashion, I failed to think through to how I could actually run a real contest that would be fair and fun for participants.
Because, predictably enough, Adobe posted only a few of the comments submitted. They even took mine down, due no doubt to certain figures of speech I employed, but some of the other ones that were posted on there were great, at least according to Vince, our social media guy, since I never saw them before they got yanked. But since fair isn’t really one of my values (I’m a business owner, remember), I’m going to give awards anyway.
Adobe’s own Lori DeFurio, Group Product Marketing Manager at Acrobat Solutions and original author of the post, will receive the TranslationGuy Tom Sawyer’s Fence Award™ for outstanding efforts to get translators to translate for nothing. The prize is a one-hour steamboat ride for two on the Mark Twain Riverboat sailing out of Hannibal, Missouri, open bar not included. (Lori, please contact me for details within 90 days to collect your prize.)
Grand Prize goes to Frank K, with his succinct message, “Don’t you all make enough money to pay for translators?” But the real reason he’s top winner is because he included a link back to TranslationGuy. Very important. Prize is a $15 iTunes card inscribed “Whitewash your own dang fence, Tom!” and the honor of knowing that he is winning, winning with tiger blood running through his veins. Frank K, contact me. I have no idea how to reach you.
Grand Prize Second Class also to Sara Freitas-Maltaverne (note the link-back here Sara;-) for a cogent comment on the limits of crowdsourcing, and to Céline for her question regarding just how much Adobe values non-English-speaking customers. Look for your cards in the mail in the next few weeks. (Ladies, if these fun-and-games link- backs to your sites don’t work for your professional presentation, let me know and I’ll pull them soonest.)
Kudos to all three for writing with the craft and grace to make a point that Adobe was willing to post, a feat beyond my own literary talents. And to those who were booted, and whose comments I never saw, apologies for missing that. Post ’em here. Hope you all had fun with this. I enjoyed it. Heather, my anger coach, says this is a good outlet for me, so long as there are no acts or threats of physical violence.
Thank you for your support.