Our project proposes to use crowd-sourcing for three tasks: select, translate and comment quality contents from the Chinese web.
Simply defined, crowdsourcing represents the act of outsourcing a certain task to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call. The job can be undertaken by sole individuals, or it can be performed collaboratively. Wikipedia is the biggest achievement of crowd-sourcing, both for generating contents, and for translating it. But there are other crowdsourcing examples. Facebook, for instance, relied on crowdsourcing for translating its contents, and the results were quite satisfactory.
Approximately 25% of all internet contents is written in Chinese, as much as English. Yet English contents is accessible to most educated internet users now – as English has evolved to being the World’s dominant language. Not so for Chinese contents – with only [xx] people with a fluent enough level of Chinese.
Automatic translators, google translate or others, may be a solution. But not only is the technology still delivering highly inadequate translations for anything slightly long; how will google translate assist non-Chinese readers in finding material they want to read?
There is a clear willingness from Chinese people to promote their culture internationally. This is especially true among the younger generation – those most at ease online. The Marco Polo Project wants to channel this enthusiasm, to select and translate quality material from the Chinese web. And we believe that Western sinophiles and Mandarin learners will join in the project, and contribute their skills to making the best of the culture they are learning about available to those who can’t read in the original.