Like Twitter, Path is outsourcing translation to the crowd

Image Credit: Robert Scoble http://www.flickr.com/photos/scobleizer/5740882816/
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Path, the less-is-more social app that lets you connect with only 150 friends at a time, is coming soon to 20 new languages, thanks to the translation power of the crowd.

Like Twitter, Path is taking an interesting crowdsourced approach to bringing its app to new languages — and new audiences.

“The response internationally [to Path] has been amazing,” wrote a Path staffer on the company blog. “We’ve heard from students and professors to avid travelers and programmers — all offering time and knowledge to help improve our translations.”

The app will be available soon in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese. In the future we are planning to add Traditional Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesian, Russian, Turkish, Malay, Dutch, Greek, Norwegian Bokmål, and English (UK).

Twitter did a lot of highly visible work in this area. Currently, the company says hundreds of thousands of volunteers have helped bring Twitter to dozens of languages, from Japanese to Farsi.

Path’s new translation center will be powered by Smartling, a bit of website translation software that will help Path capture its content and outsource its translation tasks to a crowd of online volunteers. Would-be translators can log in and apply to start translating. Soon enough, Smartling and Path will start delivering the approved translations in updated versions of the app.

There are tons of markets — especially outside the U.S. and definitely in parts of Asia — where Path’s less-is-more philosophy about online friendships will go over quite well. It’ll be particularly interesting to see whether the translation project ends up having a big impact on the app’s number of active users.


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