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Steam Translations Value Estimate

Reacting to a post on the Steam Users' Forums explaining the volunteers working on Steam Translation are not being paid for their efforts in helping translate Steam games to other languages, a post on zanfr.fr crunches some numbers to approximate how much cash Valve is saving at getting this work done for free (thanks Ant via Slashdot). By their calculations, this adds up to a tidy sum:

I did some math; the test text when you sign up for Steam Translation Server is 265 words; at the current rate of 0.09 USD per word this means 23.85 USD is how much a professional translator would charge to translate that text. Now if only storefront descriptions like this are to be translated for all games (using Steam’s claim of a catalogue of over 1100 games and growing) that would mean that Steam is saving roughly 26235 USD per language (and keep in mind thats only for short storefront descriptions of games).

Now there are 26 languages on the Translation Server at present; that means roughly 26235 x 26 = 682110 USD are being saved by Steam making the “community” work for free.

To that you have to add the costs for reviewing said translations; 0.03 USD per word, so easily enough 682110 divided by 3 = 227370 USD. (that is assuming only one version of the text has to be reviewed, which is not the case)

So, Steam has just saved 909480 USD by making the “community” work for free.

This is just for storefront descriptions again; now what would happen translating the games themselves ? well, the savings could easily turn into over 100 millions !

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42 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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42. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 11:47 Verno
 
WaltC wrote on Sep 26, 2011, 08:33:
This article is so lame. I'll bet the author is one of those people who think that "open source" software is "terrific" because [they thinks] it is created by unpaid volunteers...;)

How are the two related exactly?
 
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41. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 11:23 Dev
 
WaltC wrote on Sep 26, 2011, 08:33:
This article is so lame. I'll bet the author is one of those people who think that "open source" software is "terrific" because [they thinks] it is created by unpaid volunteers...;)
And sometimes it is.
 
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40. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 08:33 WaltC
 
This article is so lame. I'll bet the author is one of those people who think that "open source" software is "terrific" because [they thinks] it is created by unpaid volunteers...;)  
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39. removed Sep 26, 2011, 07:24 dsgwe
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Sep 26, 2011, 08:02.
 
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38. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 06:15 Nighthawk
 
I'll be the one asking how many people will be volunteering to do this for EA / Origin....

This is where can LEARN SOMETHING (as I expect there would be 0 volunteers, and perhaps even a stern warning NOT to do it)
 
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37. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 03:36 InBlack
 
We are missing his point. Valve isnt to blame here, the retarded idiots who are working for free are the true culprits. In todays glorious world of Capital, nobody should work for free since we are all servants of the Mighty $.

I must bow my head and Pray for the Paycheck. And now back to Work...
 
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36. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 03:07 eRe4s3r
 
Hah, i am assuming these translations come to be because English speakers learn Japanese and then translate, as opposed to Japanese learning English. Or maybe the translators are really out of touch with one of the 2 languages. IE they are living in Japan or in the US, and so have barely any contact with actual native speakers of the other language.

But as you say from German to English is probably the easiest possible language thing ever. If you are not German you probably don't get that, but to me English is like swimming down a stream made of honey, where-as German is like swimming down a mud-river packed with glass-shards. German is an incredible rough and unwieldy language at times.

Something that sounds smooth and silken in English sounds like you hacked it with a blunt axe in German.

Or maybe I just don't speak German on the level I speak English lately..
 
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35. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 02:47 jdreyer
 
Hey eraser. Your written English is quite good, better than some native speakers.

My point wasn't that there would be no good volunteer translators on the project, but rather the overall quality of the project would be incomparable. Also the further the language is from English the less likely a volunteer translation will be up to snuff. Going from English to German is pretty easy, but even professional translators will screw up English to Japanese. Just think about all the crappy anime and manga translations out there.
 
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34. bad logic Sep 26, 2011, 01:20 Vektuz
 
by this logic, wikipedia has saved ten billion dollars by making the community work for free because a professional encyclopedia writer would charge a lot per hour

Maybe the actual news is that professional translators only exist and charge as much as they do because previously the connectivity didn't exist that the internet brings.

This comment was edited on Sep 26, 2011, 01:35.
 
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33. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 00:09 eRe4s3r
 
Thats true ,)

I wouldn't call my English perfect but it serves its purpose well enough. And either way I am not aiming for translation jobs or anything.

I guess the point being, that translations that are not legally relevant, can be made "perfect" with a good revision process. Many eyes can spot translation and syntax errors and 1 of those set of eyes might even know the "perfect" formulation of the to-be-translated text.

A "perfect" translation is only required for legal texts imo...
 
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32. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 26, 2011, 00:04 eRe4s3r
 
True enough.

But as mods get bigger personal contributions become a smaller in importance but larger in difficulty and scale. So much, that i think getting in the games industry via mods is only possible if you have a *real* leadership guy in command, who can direct every single field, and who understands every single field involved in the creation of the mod.

If you spread development over 500 guys, how you ever gonna attribute "zeh mod" to anyone? It was a group effort but you can not reward the group, as it was just random contributions...

Epic did contests for the make something unreal contest, but if you take a look there most of those mods are just *minor* things. Not comparable in scale to something like DOD or CS (when it came for HL1)
 
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31. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 23:55 theyarecomingforyou
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Sep 25, 2011, 23:47:
I certainly would think twice now to contribute anything to a big mod-team. In the end, your voluntary work might end up being sold by people who make a mighty profit of it, and you end up with nothing.
For many people contributing to mods is a way to get your foot into the gaming industry and that's why they work for free. It's very unlikely to succeed but that doesn't diminish the optimism people have for a big project.

The problem is that everything has to be big now to compete with the 100+ developers that the bigger companies throw at a project. And with amateurs providing their own free time it's pretty hard to maintain a management structure. You only have to look at Black Mesa: Source to see how slow development can be - I mean that started development about 5 years ago.
 
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30. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 23:50 kanniballl
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Sep 25, 2011, 21:55:
Perfect grasp of 2 languages is not something exclusive to professional translaters you know....

Some people consider their grasps 100% perfect... and yet their grammar / syntax / and mis-translating idioms/metaphors/etc are barely even "decent" let alone good or great.

I know a few people from overseas that pride themselves and having better English knowledge than native speakers. They are poorly informed.

I guess the same can be said of anything... such as people that think they're excellent drivers when they are in fact quite poor.
 
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29. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 23:49 theyarecomingforyou
 
Dev wrote on Sep 25, 2011, 23:36:
jacobvandy wrote on Sep 25, 2011, 19:22:
Counterstrike, the most popular online FPS PC game ever, since its release and still to this day... was a mod, freely made and downloadable for free. Sure valve hired some of the CS guys to work on the later CS stuff, but it came from unpaid VOLUNTEERS.
The point you missed was that Valve do not have volunteers making games. They may have bought up mods produced by people that originally worked for free, yet as soon as they went to work for Valve they were paid. So Valve actually gave money to people that weren't getting any before; not that it was altruistic.
 
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28. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 23:47 eRe4s3r
 
Not to mention that such things are always huge cluster-fucks because nobody in a mod team owns the whole IP.

I can't imagine there being a lot of goodwill left in the reaches of CS and DOD mod-teams. And I certainly would think twice now to contribute anything to a big mod-team. In the end, your voluntary work might end up being sold by people who make a mighty profit of it, and you end up with nothing.

In some ways, Valve really damaged the "big-mods" community, notice how they are all nowadays studios with clear IP ownership. Nobody is stupid enough anymore to put thousand of hours into a mod, only to make 1 person, who might only contribute web-space and guidance rich, while everyone else gets a pat on the back, a honorable mention and a kick.
 
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27. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 23:36 Dev
 
jacobvandy wrote on Sep 25, 2011, 19:22:
They don't have volunteers making games, they have EMPLOYEES.
Counterstrike, the most popular online FPS PC game ever, since its release and still to this day... was a mod, freely made and downloadable for free. Sure valve hired some of the CS guys to work on the later CS stuff, but it came from unpaid VOLUNTEERS.
 
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26. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 22:59 ^Drag0n^
 
Ah, yes. Valve. The source of all that is evil in the universe...

/sarcasm

*^Drag0n^ drives on by...
 
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25. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 21:55 Rockn-Roll
 
Not only translations...think about all the developers that they force to write the mods. And, since I am a wiki.teamfortress.com contributor myself, what about all those people maintaining and adding to the game wikis?

Or, just maybe...I know it's a stretch for some of you...that some of us actually enjoy Steam so much that we actually want to contribute!
 
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24. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 21:55 eRe4s3r
 
Perfect grasp of 2 languages is not something exclusive to professional translaters you know....  
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23. Re: Steam Translations Value Estimate Sep 25, 2011, 21:21 MrBone
 
Who gives a crap?? The people choose to do it. No one is forcing them. Sickening.  
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42 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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