Crowdsourced translation and community translation are translation models in which, instead of hiring a professional, you entrust the translation of your content to strangers on the internet. Sounds like the worst idea ever, doesn’t it?
With community translation, you ask the community of users interested in your content to translate it. It’s a lot like having a bunch of neighborhood kids paint your house. They’re willing to do it for free because it sounds like fun. Of course, they really only have a general idea of how to paint a house, so you’ll have to show them. And provide all the tools and paint. And, even if you tell them you want the walls painted white and the trim red, you’ll probably have to watch them like a hawk and keep reminding them. And take care of the inevitable disputes that arise. And deal with some of the kids getting bored in the middle and leaving, or painting their name on the floor instead of painting your house. And I’m sure you can imagine the clean up you’ll have to do afterwards. And you’ll probably have to do the tricky areas yourself or hire a professional to do them, anyway.
Crowdsourced translation is similar to the above, only instead of asking people at least interested in your content, you relegate the translation of your content to a mass of completely uninterested and poorly paid amateurs, “volunteers,” or even just machines. It’s like the above, only paying slightly less than what a professional painter costs to hire a company that uses kids from a couple towns over and pays them 10 cents an hour.
Whether you hire a professional or let the neighborhood kids paint your house, it’ll get done one way or another. The question is, what will the end result look like?