Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Steam Translation Community Slaving Away

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the in-their-air-conditioned-galleys dept.

The Almighty Buck 214

An anonymous reader writes "Steam has decided to build a community effort to get its Steam platform and game files translated by the community, but here is the catch: Translators do not get paid. Millions could be saved by Steam by making the community work for free. The article describes basic estimates on how much is saved by Steam in translation costs."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh the irony... (1, Insightful)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504520)

That slashdot, which touts "free" as in "beer" software and Linux at every opportunity, has posted an incredulous article about Valve crowd-sourcing work for nothing.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504540)

Worse than that - according to the summary/article it's "slavery" and Valve "make" them do it.

Not like these people volunteer and do it on their own time or anything... no, Steam "knows" they are foreign and won't let them play their games until they've translated enough...

It's like saying that Counterstrike "makes" people set up servers for it, or that Minecraft "makes" you create works of art.

Re:Oh the irony... (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504782)

Slashdot makes me post goatse [goatse.ru] links.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504564)

That slashdot, which touts "free" as in "beer" software and Linux at every opportunity, has posted an incredulous article about Valve crowd-sourcing work for nothing.

Participating in free software like Linux and this are very different things.

Only by participating in free software do you realize its full potential; by translating text for free for a closed company you get no benefit at all.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504618)

You get lots of benefit if you're a Korean who wants to use Steam.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504634)

You get lots of benefit if you're a Korean who wants to use Steam.

Right. You get the benefit of Valve deciding to accept your money.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504690)

Ok, your objection here is Valve charging for games. You're obviously from that part of the world I often see labelled as "utopia" on the map.

Re:Oh the irony... (-1, Troll)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504780)

You're obviously from Uranus because that's where your head seems to be... his objection is to doing work for free for an entity you're giving your money to.

Re:Oh the irony... (5, Insightful)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504824)

Nobody is forcing them to do it for fucks sake!

Re:Oh the irony... (0)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504926)

Nobody is forcing them to do it for fucks sake!

You are the first person to mention "forcing" in this thread.
You might want to consider that your defense is misdirected at a strawman.
Or you could wave your hands about a narrow interpretation of the summary as a way to avoid trying to understand where the other posters here are coming from.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505122)

It isn't a straw man because the parent said "his objection is to doing work for free", as if somehow they were being coerced into doing it. Well, they aren't. So apart from demonstrating yourself to be a patronising, sanctimonious arse who doesn't know what a straw-man argument is, your comment here has achieved absolutely nothing.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505446)

It isn't a straw man because the parent said "his objection is to doing work for free", as if somehow they were being coerced into doing it.

Again, you are misunderstanding the objection. Do you care that there may be more to the argument than you realize or are you only interested in declaring how stupid anyone with a different opinion must be?

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505198)

Nobody is forcing them to do it for fucks sake!

No, but it is an asymmetric relationship which is shifting wealth (in the economic sense; the ability to satisfy wants, not cash) from one group of people to another. Such asymmetry is ever worthy of consideration, at least for anyone who loves the free market. The free market would be most efficient if all transactions were perfectly symmetric. Any who believe that there is value in maximizing GDP would do well to always contemplate asymmetric transactions, and ponder if there is a way to influence the market to more closely approximate symmetry.

Any who believes asymmetry is a good thing is an enemy of the free market; a thief and a brigand.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505268)

Any who believes asymmetry is a good thing is an enemy of the free market; a thief and a brigand.

How efficient is a market where people want to play a game but can't for lack of a translation? Voluntary, self-interested transactions are the foundation of a free market; it has fuck all to do with "symmetry."

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505278)

Given the above, what I want to know is why you don't use reductio ad absurdum as your main form of argumentation more often.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504954)

his objection is to doing work for free for an entity you're giving your money to.

I take it you never volunteer for any public programs, either, since you have already paid your taxes?

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505218)

So it's win/win. If things were the other way around, I'd happily translate Spanish or Japanese into English.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505514)

So it's win/win. If things were the other way around, I'd happily translate Spanish or Japanese into English.

Actually, you've hit on probably the best test for fairness -- asking "what if things were the other way around?"

Let's say that I took a Spanish script and translated it into English and then charged, say $20/copy for that English version. Would Valve come along and write a video game around that script and then donate it to me so that I could bundle it with each $20 copy of the translated script?

Of course not.

So yeah, there ain't nobody forcing these people into freely giving their labor to Valve. But that doesn't make Valve any less scummy for encouraging it, much less simply taking it when, if the tables were reversed, they would never do such a thing themselves.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

unrtst (777550) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504734)

Participating in free software like Linux and this are very different things.

Only by participating in free software do you realize its full potential; by translating text for free for a closed company you get no benefit at all.

Different, sure. "Very" different, no.

Let's assume that Valve isn't willing to fork out the money to translate their platform to those other languages. As the article estimates, it's expensive (and I agree it's expensive... a company I worked for paid about 26k per translation of the software they developed internally, and some languages are much more expensive than others, and those are usually the ones that have fewer users). So that'd make some sense, since their market may not be as large in those areas - more so, their market of people that can't read English in those areas may not justify the cost and effort to create and maintain the translations themselves.

However, if there's still some market there, why not let that market justify itself... they provide the translation, and they get to reap the benefits (able to use Steam and view some games in their native tongue). That sure does sound like a nice benefit to me.

I am a free software proponent, and I would agree that it would be more beneficial to society if Steam itself was an open source platform. But that's not required to make this still be a good thing.

Re:Oh the irony... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504568)

Open source is Free. You pay nothing for it.

Steam is literally an advertising platform used to shove corporate DRM-ware down your throat. Hell, Steam itself IS DRM.

You may not have to pay anything to get Steam itself - but what you're installing is a DRM and advertising platform.

Compare with something useful like a web browser or a complete operating system. Yeah, I'd say the two are slightly different.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504652)

You are making yourself a very comfortable false dichotomy. Steam is very useful indeed. It makes it easy for me to buy, install, patch, organise and run video games. As a gamer, I think it's an excellent service.

Does Red Hat make a profit, by the way? It seems to me this article is of the form, "evil capitalists pay less than minimum wage for language translation!".

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505076)

Red Hat makes money primarily on support and if you don't want to pay them, then you have other options, you can go without support or you can hire somebody else. With Steam, you pay for the product and support or you do without, the other option being piracy.

I'd say that makes it very different, when a corporation uses volunteer labor for a pay only product, that's fundamentally different from when a corporation makes money off a freely available product.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505144)

It's "different", in the same way that a bottle of gin is different from a can of cider. But they're both drinks, i.e. both organisations are making money on the back of what was (initially at least) the unpaid labour of others.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505230)

I'd say that makes it very different, when a corporation uses volunteer labor for a pay only product, that's fundamentally different from when a corporation makes money off a freely available product.

Why? If Valve is "exploiting" volunteer translators, then Red Hat is "exploiting" volunteer coders.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

innerweb (721995) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505318)

Not directed at parent

All enterprise, employment, volunteerism, etc. is, at their base, exploitation of people's skills and the people themselves. The rewards for doing it vary but somehow each who does is motivated in their own way. Even Open source *exploits* the talents of the developers. Every user is an exploiter.

So, yeah, Red Hat is exploiting. Steam is exploiting. We are all exploiting something and someone every day. (ok, maybe not you isolated desert island dwellers, but you can't see this, as there is no service to exploit.) If you do not believe this, please look the word up. Get a feel for what it means and then try to understand that the use of money to purchase something is inherently exploiting someone somewhere. It is how the world goes around. The only way to not be part of it is to not live.

And about symmetry. It is not realistically possible. People have different valuations of the same things. Even if you could arrive at an agreement for each transaction of what symmetry for that transaction was, that valuation would still change going forward as people's perceptions of valuation change and the balance that symmetry is trying to preserver would still be lost. That being said, more balanced transactions could be arrived at, but profiteers would not be happy with that.

Re:Oh the irony... (3, Insightful)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505510)

Red Hat makes money primarily on support and if you don't want to pay them, then you have other options, you can go without support or you can hire somebody else. With Steam, you pay for the product and support or you do without, the other option being piracy.

I'd say that makes it very different, when a corporation uses volunteer labor for a pay only product, that's fundamentally different from when a corporation makes money off a freely available product.

I know people like Steam and all but it's not the only legal option. If you don't like Steam you don't use it, games can still be purchased through other channels, but if someone does like Steam enough to go above and beyond giving them their money what's wrong with that?

On the other end of the equation, what's wrong with a corporation using volunteers? If they have people lining up to work for free on a project they can make some money off why wouldn't they let them? All they offered was a fuzzy feeling and people still lined up. This seems like a case of everyone getting what they want.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505074)

I'd say a web browser gets used much the same way as Steam does. It certainly ends up with more advertising in.

Re:Oh the irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37505224)

Except in both case it's volunteer work for the benefit of everyone.

Your comparison is useless and dumb.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504576)

Will the translators free work be freely available? If so, then this is great. If not, then there are problems.

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504668)

Will the translators free work be freely available? If so, then this is great. If not, then there are problems.

Indeed. Because Steam exercises considerable direction and control over their translators, they might be considered employees. AOL ran into minimum wage laws when they had forum moderators. Eventually, they had to pay them back pay.

It looks like they're about 75% done translating. [steampowered.com]

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505094)

Under federal law volunteers must be volunteering for a public sector, religious or non-profit institution. For profit entities are barred from profiting from volunteer labor. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp [dol.gov]

Re:Oh the irony... (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505156)

Wrong. It says:

Under the FLSA, employees may not volunteer services to for-profit private sector employers.

Re:Oh the irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504770)

Yes, Valve is to be commended for crowd-sourcing work the results of which it then distributes for free.

Oh wait, it doesn't? :P

open source developers get paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504820)

Open source developers usually get jobs based upon their work. Ideally, no programmer should ever be paid more than $100k without having either (a) a degree in math, physics, or engineering instead of computer science, i.e. understanding numbers, or (b) some minor but useful open source projects for code samples. Translators never really make over $100k.

Hopefully not prone to abuse (4, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504528)

Or people in some country are going to be wondering why everyone keeps telling Gordon Freeman that their hovercraft is full of eels.

Re:Hopefully not prone to abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504554)

My nipples explode with excitement!

Re:Hopefully not prone to abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504562)

"I'm sorry, Mario, but the Princess will not buy this record, it is scratched."

Re:Hopefully not prone to abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37505290)

"I'm sorry, Mario, but the Princess will not buy this record, it is scratched."

I'll tell you what's wrong with this phoenix [youtube.com] , it's dead.

Re:Hopefully not prone to abuse (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504720)

This can happen to anyone. We had a piece of software translated into simplified Chinese and the Y axis on one of the graphs in a report screen was labelled "Pine Trees" instead of `temperature'. This would probably have caused some confusion in the control room of the customer.

If you are Korean (or whatever) (3, Insightful)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504558)

and you are bilingual wouldn't you want for your non bilingual Korean (or whatever) speaking buddy to be able to play the same games as you? I would think that contributors should at least get free games though.

Re:If you are Korean (or whatever) (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505114)

Whether they want to or not, Valve is legally barred from profiting from volunteer labor. Valve is legally obliged to pay for the work at at least the minimum wage. I'm not up enough on labor law to know whether that means the federal minimum wage or WA state minimum wage, but accepting volunteer labor under these conditions is unlikely to be legal.

And with good reason, I have a hard time believing that Valve couldn't find enough Korean speakers to do the translations for pay, without having to crowd source it. It's not like it's an obscure language spoken only by people that don't believe in work for money.

If they release it as a generic patch that's free for everybody, they might be able to skirt the issue, but otherwise they're almost certain to be fined if anybody files a complaint.

I sense a disterbance is the force (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504582)

It's like a hundred million lawyers just cackled with insane glee!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_Community_Leader_Program

And? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504586)

For the most part, this isn't that unusual. See, for instance, the "Google in your Language" project.

And it's not like the users are being scammed or anything. They weren't promised money or anything, and they're getting... exactly what they signed up for. I won't be surprised if Valve does, eventually, start giving them a few gifts, but I also don't think it's unethical. This would be like complaining that /. story submitters don't get paid for contributing content - after all, Slashdot makes several bajillion dollars every nanosecond, but it would be NOTHING without such insightful and well-researched articles provided graciously by the readers.

This is also the only way to get some translations done. Sure, finding a translator for Spanish or even two types of Chinese may be easy, but what about Bulgarian? Or Thai? Or "Pirate"? Yes, there's poor, suffering, unpaid people slaving away at "translating" games into a fake dialect.

Re:And? (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504628)

For most languages, professional companies use professional services. You are correct that Steam isn't going anything unethical per se, since the deal is clearly laid-out, but it is outside the norm to not pay for translation for commercial software.

Re:And? (2)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504784)

GPP already gave one example: Google. Another big company springs to mind: Facebook. Of course, FB did discover the downside of not paying professional translators [theregister.co.uk] . But it's not too surprising that other companies should try to follow in the footsteps of such behemoths.

Re:And? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504968)

Actually, the practice of using one's userbase to crowdsource translations has been practiced specifically in the software business for ages - I've seen campaigns like these back in early 2000s, and participated in some. Normally people do it either because they like the application and want to share it with some people they know who don't speak English; or just because they like seeing their name in credits.

Re:And? (2)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505188)

All my freeware apps include translations sent to me by users of the software, and I've been doing this since 2000. I just included a template people could modify, and a header asking them to send me a copy of the file. As someone else suggested, people like to translate software for friends and family who don't speak English (or any of the other existing languages.)

Re:And? (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505130)

You mean apart from the fact that this is almost certain to be a violation of the FLSA? http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp [dol.gov] for more information.

The shortened version is that you can't accept volunteer labor unless you're a religious institution, a charitable organization or are public sector or are a similar type of non-profit entity. Valve definitely can't accept volunteer labor if its going to be profiting from it.

Re:And? (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505426)

So then how does Slashdot work? The site most certainly profits from the unpaid contributions of its users.

It's the same everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504600)

Translators have to work insane hours, to meet insane deadlines. They are paid insanely small amounts of money and have to wait insanely long to get their well deserved money.

http://nopeanuts.wordpress.com/

RTFA - free games (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504612)

Steam does give free games away, I got Portal for free when they offered it for free for everyone.

Re:RTFA - free games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504656)

You got Portal for free, when they offered it for free for everyone? Sounds like a great deal.

Re:RTFA - free games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504798)

I think he referred to the last sentence of the article:
"It would be understandable if Steam was a charity, however, I do not see Steam giving away their games any time soon."

They do give games away for free. They made TF2 free-to-play recently. And the promotional deals they offer are, though nowhere near to free, much better than anything you might find in your local store or on amazon.
Sure, Valve/Steam are no charity. They are a company and want to make money (and this is a good thing). But I think it is really unfair to say that they are screwing people over. It is all volontary in the end.

Re:RTFA - free games (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504936)

Yes, thank you - that is exactly what I meant.

Re:RTFA - free games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504946)

So the translators will get the same free stuff everybody else gets for not doing anything? Count me in!

Fuck Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504616)

Wake me up when they pay somebody to translate it to work on Linux or at the very least release Half-Life 2 episode 3.

Re:Fuck Steam (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504948)

That's what I was hoping they meant by translation... oh well. Can't be too terribly much work to port it over from the OS X build can there?

Who cares? (1)

Lose (1901896) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504642)

Its nothing new for people to contribute to translations of software they like in the open source community. You don't get anything in return, except for the feeling that your contributions will be appreciated by others who speak your language, and you get to enjoy your favorite applications in your native language.

What's the big deal if Valve is allowing the same for their games? For those who speak a lesser known language, this could be a godsend. Translations may never have been considered for their language if Valve went and had professional translations done.

The article does have a valid point, that Valve saves a big chunk of change not paying for translations. However, in another light, the author sounds butt-hurt that anyone would consider contributing to something they enjoy.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504710)

Umm...Valve would be making money from the effort these people provide and not compensating them in any way. I thought the difference between this and volunteers for open source projects would be blatantly obvious.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Lose (1901896) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504856)

There are open source projects that often end up included as a component of proprietary software. Barring any licensing issues, the authors of the OSS usually don't see compensation, just an honorable mention that their product was included. Are they fools for not specifying otherwise? No. They wanted to make their work available for free so it could be enjoyed by the masses.

I'm not sure what the terms are for providing translations to Steam, but the basis seems about the same to me. People enjoy sharing out their work with others.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504892)

Anybody can benefit, monetarily or otherwise, from the efforts of open source projects and developers. The only people who benefit financially from these translations are Valve. The translations directly enable Valve to sell their closed source products. It is a very different situation from donating your time to a project which the general public can benefit from. I'm not saying the translators should be cut a check for their effort, but they should be compensated somehow. I think the effort is worth a free game or two, which would be trivial given the nature of Steam.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Lose (1901896) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505072)

I suppose this is true. I just find it hard to believe that a community of gamers wouldn't contribute just to brag about how they contributed to others, or just to do it for benefit of those who also enjoy the product they translated for.

Oh well. Perhaps if Valve does reward their deeds with free games, they might consider making Half Life or Half Life 2 free. Its, what? $9.99 per license now? They could keep charging people for the latter episodes.

Re:Who cares? (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505098)

The gamers who can now play games in their native language are the ones who benefit the most. Letting people modify or translate games without getting paid is not unethical. By your logic I should be compensated for writing this obviously insightful post but I am volunteering my time and talent to help edify the reader.
You're welcome.

Re:Who cares? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505138)

The difference is that it's OK to volunteer for a non-profit or charitable organization, but illegal when it's a for profit entity that's profiting from the labor. The reason being that it makes it harder for companies to pressure employees to work off the clock so that they don't get laid off in the future.

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp [dol.gov]

Crowdsourcing (1)

ibib (464750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504646)

I thought crowdsourcing was the way of the future, what have I missed?

Re:Crowdsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504706)

Crowdsourcing is the new slave labor.

what money saved? (5, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504650)

The "article" assumes Valve would otherwise pay to have the translations done.

This is a questionable assumption. The alternative assumption is that these translations would be uneconomic to do professionally therefore they have allowed the community to do translations instead of not having it at all. The latter assumption seems more probable given we're talking about the back catalogue.

It's difficult to judge since the "article" has no citations, not even a link for the quote cited "Steam forums". There's no basic information such as the languages being translated.

And... Oh forget it. The "article" isn't even of a standard worthy of criticising.

Re:what money saved? (1)

BLT2112 (1372873) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504694)

The "article" assumes Valve would otherwise pay to have the translations done. This is a questionable assumption.

Agreed. If they weren't going to do it anyway it's actually rather helpful of them to make it possible for the text to be translated by whoever volunteers to do so.

Re:what money saved? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504772)

Oh forget it. The "article" isn't even of a standard worthy of criticising.

Much like your posting.

Re:what money saved? (2)

waives (1257650) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504976)

Oh forget it. The "article" isn't even of a standard worthy of criticising.

Much like your posting.

apparently not.

Re:what money saved? (2)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504826)

Anyone can say they aren't going to do it when a option is offered for it to be done for free... on top of it the website doesn't take into account sales that will be made because people who speak a different language will actually buy the product, what this is after in the first place.

I found the article to be acceptable in terms of 'standards' considering what is actually available. It's adequate back of the envelope math. The article doesn't need citations for what it's offering besides the steam translation page and the premise it uses. Now, If you're poopooing on it merely because it's wordpress, then I don't think there is a lot I can do to help you.

"Slaving"? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504838)

As to the pernicious lie that Valve has enslaved these translators: really? Are you claiming that Valve has stuck a gun to their collective heads and told them to work or face dire consequences up to and including torture or death?

This is certainly a volunteer effort to begin with, done so that the translators themselves can enjoy the games in their native languages.

Seriously, this article is a troll. Slavery, indeed.

Re:what money saved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504884)

There are some languages that WOULD be cost effective for valve to translate too, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Mandarin, Korean, Kanji, Russian, Portuguese. All of these justify translation that would normally be paid for by the publisher (I have worked with EA on this in the past).

So I think the resentment is due to the very direct Valve (who won't even bring steam to open source platform) are saving this cost while not even given a token freebie game to those doing the work.

Author is a fuckerlord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504658)

Honestly, what's wrong with that guy? VALVe has a community of dedicated fans who want to translate content for everyone and their friend to enjoy. This is the same idea as Wikipedia, OpenStreetmaps, and things like that.

And he complains because VALVe doesn't give away millions of dollars in return? What the fuck man? They're doing this on purpose, because they like VALVe, and they certainly don't care about not getting paid, shown by the quote in TFA.

Author is a giant fuckhead, probably jealous and he hasn't had the idea first.

Re:Author is a fuckerlord (2)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504960)

But it's just so outrageous. How dare those people be allowed to translate those things?

They're not being paid in cash. They just enjoy it! Unbelievable!

Someone should stop Valve before it's too late.

Just you wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504662)

I can't wait for bases all of the enemy are belonging to the not enemy but not to us sire.

Please have orders for the doing to counter the productiveness of their assault upon the bases that are not theirs but not ours either?

The New Capitalism: Work for Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504696)

From the article:

Translators do not get paid. They do enjoy many perks however, like access to the game text to be translated (not the game itself, god forbid they could actually test their translation within the game and not have to pay for it), and⦠and⦠thatâ(TM)s about it.

Reminds me of something somebody rich and famous once said (no, it was NOT Steve Jobs):

There are two hundred million idiots, manipulated by a million intelligent men.

- Pablo Escobar (Ref: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Pablo_Escobar [wikimedia.org] )

Free you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504700)

I hate to be the bearer of good news, but free translation is often the only way you get an official translation without having to pirate and hack the game yourself.

Let's re-frame the situation. The game is released in English, thus is only available to English users and those foreigners who know English, this leaves out a few billion people doesn't it? The Chinese for one will openly pirate a game and localize a game if you don't, so that's one reason, So will Russians. The flipside is also true, Americans will pirate Asian games and translate them, because the developers don't want to spend time localizing them.

So everyone wins if they do free translation, you get native language version of the game, the game developer gets translations that they otherwise wouldn't bother with. The translation teams get to put their skills to good use (most of the fansubbing community for Anime practices their skills this way.) And pirates can no longer use the "they don't sell it here" excuse.

I'd actually like to see this crowdsourcing taken up with anime, movie and tv show subtitles as well as comic book/manga translation, as in officially released translations. It would seriously put a dent in the piracy, making it much easier to identify criminal piracy.

Double standard? (3, Insightful)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504702)

"Millions could be saved by Steam by making the community work for free."

So when open source crowdsources development it's great, but when video game companies do it it's exploitative? And how exactly are volunteers "forced" to do anything?

If the costs of professional translation are as high as the article suggests (nearly $1 million just to translate Steam storefront pages), then this move makes sense to me. How many sales are you going to gain by having 26 different translations of a game? How many people who might use a translation wouldn't have just played the game in English in the absence of one? Even Valve's AAA titles from before this weren't in 26 languages. Half-Life 2 [steampowered.com] is only in 18. And that's for a big budget game. For smaller titles, the benefit from translating is undoubtedly not worth the cost.

Given that, I think this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Rather than fans of a game having to organize a team to translate it and hack up a patch, there is now a way for everyone to contribute as much as they like to a publisher-sponsored effort. You'd have to be pretty damn cynical to see this as a bad thing.

Re:Double standard? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504776)

The work of open source volunteers ends up being available to everyone. The crowdsourced work of volunteers for Valve and other companies ends up controlled by these companies. That is an important difference, and treating different things differently is not a double standard.

Must I remind you of CDDB? When people work for a perceived common good that is in fact legally controlled by a for-profit, then there will eventually be mass-disappointment.

Re:Double standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504840)

When people think others will get the same benefit as me for free then they are happy to add in. However, in this case Steam is for profit. They do not get the same benefit as everyone in the deal. So they give it a skip.

In other words if people feel they are getting ripped off they skip the exercise.

Re:Double standard? (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504818)

Open source development is open source-- everyone benefits. In this case the "crowdsourced" product is proprietary and only benefits stream; unlike Google's product, o one else benefits from the CrowdWork.

Re:Double standard? (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505216)

Sure, nobody that plays these translated games will have benefited.

The flaw in the core of your logic is that you believe that in every transaction that involves money that there is one winner and one loser. The fact is that in most transactions involving money, both the buyer and the seller win.

....that some people might give their time freely to steam in no way alters the win-win relationship between buyer and seller, but it does enable it.

Re:Double standard? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504822)

Apparently, people don't understand the difference between an open source development model, where the money is in support, and that of closed source development, where the money is in... development and support.

In essence, what's happening here is that Valve is getting done work for free because... I don't know. People think that Valve will think they're awesome and hire them? In the case of some rarer languages like Basque or Woloof, I can see that this would be a welcome labor of love. But what about Tagalog? What about Portuguese? Plenty of people there who can afford to buy the game, and probably will.

Now, the real question is whether the games subjected to this translation effort are Valve's own games, or games offered through its storefront. If it's the former, Valve is opening itself up to some fun litigation, not to mention grade-A cheap-skate status. If it's the latter.... well, take it up with the developers. They're responsible for the status of their game, including what languages are supported. If people want to support those developers and work for free, good job. But they better not kid themselves that this gives them some sort of leg up in the game world. Translation is a weird job where the basic skill is often learned through an accident of geography, and is shared among millions. The real skill is in live translations and translating so that the intent, rather than the content, is transmitted. Nneither of which will be demonstrated by doing store front translations.

Smart Move on their part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504704)

It's a pretty smart move by valve as it saves them money and some people will participate if only for the reason to try to make a release faster or just because. That said, they really do need an incentive if they really want participation. They could make it into a points system where people get points per sentence translation where they can exchange for discounts/free stuff. This would cost valve little and greatly increase participation as many would participate especially if you put it into a more competitive game-like format.

Hopefully stream doesn't abuse this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504708)

I can see this overall being a good thing especially for translations to a language which really doesn't have a big enough market or being a small indie game to make it worth translating but where there is a large enough market hopefully steam hires professional translators

Slashdot? (1)

shish (588640) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504714)

Posted by timothy...

An anonymous reader writes...

Is timothy going to split slashdot's ad revenue with anonymous?

4chan.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504718)

will love this.

So Steam is holding a gun to their heads? (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504722)

Maybe has their children hostage? No?

So how are they "making" them do this.

Just wait until this moron finds out all the people being "made" to write linux code. Actually he has a minecraft section in his top menu, is he getting paid for that prime advertising spot? Or was he "made" to do that by the evil Mojang folk?

Free translations cost more than paying for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504724)

I manage a team of translators for a website and can tell you that community translations are shit. They'll spend more money paying people to delete abduction update bad translations than they would pay to just have good translators in the first place. They don't even have to pay .09 cents per word like the article estimates, my translators do a great job and work for .03 cents a word. Community translations on a project as big as Steam are a waste of time.

Apples and oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504762)

Of course we'll do it ourselves -- otherwise, Steam would have to distribute the costs to the consumers, but it's not fair to say they're saving millions because the translations will be made by amateurs. People who think Steam and other companies are cheating by crowd-sourcing are just jealous; they expect us all to pay expensive professionals to do something that amateurs can do on their own if given the chance.

Facebook (1)

blizter (1242428) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504814)

Has been doing this for a while now..

Scarcity, Paradise, King in Hell (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504834)

Images float through my head; the paradise of the end of scarcity, the oligarchs chanting that scarcity is what motivates the free market and so must be protected, then hiring legislators to pass laws to increase artificial scarcity, while capitalizing on the new option of non-scarcity to get free tools for advancing the market penetration of their artificially scarce goods.

It seems apparent that they would rather be kings in hell than peers in heaven.

Slashdot Commenter Community Slaving Away (5, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#37504988)

Slashdot has decided to build a community effort to get its Slashdot news blog proof-read, edited and reviewed by the community, but here is the catch: commenters do not get paid. Millions could be saved by Slashdot by making the community work for free. The article [youtube.com] describes basic estimates on how much is saved by Slashdot in editing costs.

Probably an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37504996)

Some of the official translations they've got so far has been abysmal, obviously being translated by someone not fluent in the language, with inexplicable grammar and mixing words of "similar looking" languages (no, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and German are NOT interchangable), or maybe even translated automatically, so I doubt they've spent anything on translation thus far. If they did, they certainly didn't get their money's worth. Getting people who actually speak the languages to contribute can only be an improvement.

So? (2)

juancn (596002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37505040)

There are many projects like this. Many times crowdsourced translations are better than professional translations, and for many situations they are the only option.

Languages like spanish have a huge number of variations (it's pretty much different in every country, heck, even inside the same country), and we end up enduring a washed-up version of an international spanish that's usually awful. Crowdsourced translations at least let you correct the translation and add variations that feel better for a speakers of a certain variation of the language.

One good example of this type of crowdsourced effort is subtitles. See "subtitulos.es" [subtitulos.es] for example. You can get a complete movie or series chapter translated in a few hours. From the basic result obtained there, several teams around the world further localize the language (for example to Argentinian spanish).

The solution is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37505116)

Give them hats.

What ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37505254)

So, what you mean is that Steam project managers are awesome at their jobs and people are stupid for signing up to do it for free?

Or are you an unemployed interpreter?

There is no punch line.

Game headlines are translated for free.. Ok. Thanks. Good to know.

Did not do the research... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37505264)

"It would be understandable if Steam was a charity, however, I do not see Steam giving away their games any time soon."

TF2 F2P. Alien Swarm. Literally hundreds of great Steam sales. It's obvious whoever wrote this is not familiar with Valve or Steam at all.

Zero Wing reference in 3, 2, 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37505464)

Somewhere in Mexico or Spain some kid is gonna come across a game informing him "Todos son su base nos pertenece".

If I were involved I would have to sneak that in somewhere... :D

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?