In today’s highly technological society, information is everywhere. Accessing vast amounts of knowledge has never been easier as more and more information is stored on the internet and retrieved at the click of a button. However, finding information relevant to our needs is becoming more and more difficult as the amount of information available increases, and often the information we need isn’t accessible for one obvious reason: it’s in the wrong language.
College students studying anything in a foreign language or culture are familiar with the frustration of finding the “perfect” research article, only to find that it hasn’t been translated. In addition, most web browsers filter out results that aren’t in our language, thereby limiting the information we can access and sometimes preventing us from finding resources that could prove invaluable, were they in our own language.
Ideally, all content would be available in all languages. And there are companies trying to reach that ideal. Groups such as Wikipedia, Translators Without Borders, TED, and Webflakes are all using crowdsourcing to translate vast amounts of information. Using various translation tools and platforms, multilingual users are able to go online and translate information into their native language. In addition, many of these organizations also encourage users to translate more content by donating to global charities based on the number of words translated.
The combined efforts of these organizations and the users who translate information are changing the information available, promoting worldwide access to valuable information, and overcoming the language barriers that present challenges to information-seekers across the globe.
To find out how to participate, see the article and references on Crowdsourcing.org