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Struggles with Crowdin: A Volunteer Translator’s Perspective

As a volunteer for ProZ Pro Bono, I get to use Crowdin for my volunteer translations.


To say that getting to know the tool hasn’t been easy is an understatement. I live in a rural village in Türkiye, my internet is still DSL and not optic fibre, and cuts out regularly.


Crowdin, like Phrase, only gives you access to translation memories and term bases when you’re online, and I rather suspect that it was developed by a Westerner with excellent Internet access and speed.



Struggles with Crowdin


The lag between when I type the letters and when they appear on my screen, be it on the web browser or on the desktop (not offline) app, is a great annoyance to me. And I’m not an especially fast typist. It is a tool laid out for using MT as a basis, so for those who rely on machine translations, this might not be a problem, but it is for me.


The desktop app can only be found under a rather remote link, and is prone to crashing and not restarting (is it my internet connection here again?).


I translate to French, and am rather pedantic about correct typography, so the fact that Crowdin’s default apostrophe is the straight one, and that simple acts like changing “1er” to “1er” is not just a click or keyboard shortcut away does annoy me (a lot). There is a lot of work needed in that regard for quite a few tools, but finding the way to work around the default setting in Crowdin is more complex and less intuitive.


The general layout of the web interface isn’t very intuitive and doesn’t offer many options. Keyboard shortcuts can’t be seen at one glance without scrolling, and also aren’t easily available in a format that is downloadable or could be kept open in a separate window while translating.


I agree that Crowdin does offer certain advantages, like the possibility for translator and reviewer to collaborate on a project in real time, which could be really efficient for direct feedback and working together for the best translation possible.


Crowdin seems to be designed for multilingual localisation of fast-changing content and strongly sells the “integration” aspect of the tool to its clients.


Unless your client has purchased Crowdin Enterprise and gives you access to the tool, as is the Case for ProZ Pro Bono, the steep annual subscription of $600 for the cheapest plan with a limit of 60.000 words (target) translated doesn’t seem worth it to me. Of course, “public” translations are free, but that means your work is out there for all to see and use, your clients might not like that.


How many of you work with Crowdin?


Is it your clients’ choice or yours?


How do you deal with the lagging/crashing?

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I have not used Crowdin so far. I just wait to have a new project on Proz Pro Bono where I have to use this CAT tool. Personally, I just got Optic Fiber, which helps to run very well any online websites such as Zoom, Smartcat and so on. I got it, thanks to a University close to me. Maybe, you have to ask for any institution or academy in your community that wants to improve their internet. I also watched the Crowdin explanation video, and it looks both fascinating and challenging at the same time. Great post! 💯

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Thank you, Yuna.

Forewarned is forearmed. I use Trados Studio 2022, which is 32 bit on my 64-bit machine. I don't want to show off, and indeed it crashed "unexplainably" once today, because it can't use all the 64 bits. Fortunately I didn't have too much "surgery" to perform, since the CAT software produces backups at regular intervals.

Do your resources enable you to invest in a "wireless" modem, and so circumvent the limitations of DSL?

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I suspect that a lot of the crashing/freezing is unfortunately a result of your weak internet connection :( But I certainly agree that it's quite annoying to use Crowdin :) For starters it doesn't even have segment numbers, which I've never seen in any other CAT tool! And then to the best of my knowledge and memory (anyone pls feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), if you confirm a segment and then make a change in that segment for one reason or another, it just becomes "edited" and not "untranslated", and there's no filter named "Edited"! I know this because I once simply delivered a large translation file with "edited" segments, which appeared in their unedited version in…

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I worked with Crowdin only with Proz and for Proz Pro Bono

I did use my account that was given to me by Proz Pro-bono for volunteering to move the big chunks from Localise to smaller ones on Crowdin.

I didn't experience the connection problem. But I had a "learning curve" as a reviewer because I did not know how to save my changes.

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