15 Tips to Motivate Your Crowdsourcing Translators

For many crowdsourced translation projects, the most challenging problem they encounter is how to motivate their crowdsourcing translators. To move people’s heart is not easy, but there are some ways that work. In this blog post, we share 15 tips to increase your volunteer’s incentive to engage in your localization project.


Love Cannot be Forced

The mechanisms of crowdsourced translation are love and loyalty. People do not engage in your project for monetary rewards, but for their fondness. However, it is difficult to turn your users’ love into concrete and solid contribution.

Free Rider Problem

This is a classic Economics 101 issue. As with all public goods, people are tempted to await for the release of native language support without translating a single string.


To solve the problems, it is important to know the psychology of motivation. There are, in general, three push factors for people to engage in things without monetary rewards:

  •  Recognition
  •  Growth
  •  No hardship



Recognition is a basic human psychological need. People want recognition and positive feedback from others to acknowledge the contribution of their work. Otherwise, people may feel that their efforts are wasted or doubt its meaningfulness.


Knowing things are growing, whether it is their project or themselves, is good sign for people to continue their work. It shows that there is some prospect in their piece of work that is worth putting effort into.

No Hardship

People tend to avoid pain and hardship, especially when they are working as volunteers. Make sure the atmosphere is not filled with boredom and bitterness.


Here we offer fifteen ways to improve participants’ incentive based on the three push factors mentioned above.


#1 Show Genuine Need for Their Help

When you establish a localization campaign, you should set your goal clearly (what languages you want to translate, why, and by when). Arouse the compassion in your users’ hearts. Show your need for them.

#2 Set Up a Leaderboard/Hall of Fame

Create a publicly accessible page on your site where people can see how much your volunteers have contributed. Sort them accordingly. This can promote an atmosphere of playful competition (see #14), as well as recognize volunteers’ contributions.

(source: facebook)

#3 Thank Them Regularly

A leaderboard is only a static page. No one knows who is topping the charts without clicking on the link, so you also need to thank your volunteers regularly by sending e-mails or making announcements. Tell them that this project won’t be making progress without their contributions. You could also highlight the contributors of the month and show your gratitude.

#4 Announce the Progress Regularly

In addition to making e-mail announcements about progress, you can announce progress publically. Tell the public how your translation project has gone so far. Celebrate the achievement of any milestones of your campaign.

#5 Write Their Stories

Another way to recognize your contributors is to write stories about them. Interview them. Listen to their experiences with your product. Hear their motives and joys of translating your product. Your translators should be bilingual/multilingual users, and they may come from diverse backgrounds.

#6. Give Them Unique Branded Gifts

You may also offer your translators some branded products that are unique to the campaign. Lovers of your product would also love to receive a mug or t-shirt printed with your product’s logo.

#7 Adopt the Contribution Rapidly

It is a strong positive signal for users to see their contribution published. That’s the biggest recognition of their work. So apply contributions more rapidly. Sometimes you don’t even need to release the translation upon completion.


#8 Use a Progress Gauge

A progress gauge can be used to show the percentage of work that has been done to date, and how much is still needed to meet the goal. Update the progress gauge regularly to let your users know how things are going.

(photo: source)

#9 Quantify Their Contributions

Use point system to turn translators’ contributions into quantifiable indicators. They can view how much they have done each time they login. It is a growth parameter for them.

#10 Promote Dedicated Contributors

Make the job of volunteer translator like a career path. Grant some special access rights to those contributors who are very devoted to your project. For instance, give them the right to approve the final translation before it is released. You can even promote them to be the community managers who have the authority to approve new registrations, set policies and norms, and resolve disputes. People love to have increased impact on a community that they care about.

#11 Offer Official Certificates

Offering certificates may benefit the career development of some of your volunteers, such as translators and interpreters. Send them official certificates from your organization with the details of the nature and the quality of work they have contributed. Certificates should look highly professional. This solution can attract users from the translation profession.

No Hardship

#12 Ask Them to Vote

This tactic allows a variety of involvement in your crowdsourced translation project. Some of your users can be passionate readers, but they dislike translation work. To bring these users into play, have them vote for the best options of translations, as opposed to actually translating material themselves.

(photo: source)

#13 Make your translation UI more tempting

Some users may hesitate to help if they see a myriad of strings to translate, since they may prefer making a few translations only. You can still use these volunteers by making your translation UI contain fewer translation strings. The best format would be simply an original string and a box to place a user’s translation. Once they have started contributing at a pace that is comfortable for them, they may be more open to contributing more.

#14 Set Up a Competition

Competitions and games can add a little fun to your crowdsourced translation project. You can make use of suggestions #2 and #5, sending gifts to the best or most prolific contributors in the game.

#15 Double Your Rewards Near Completion

If you are looking for a last resort to boost the progress of your project when you are near your goal, you can double the points or rewards for translation of the remaining 10% or 20% of content. It can boost volunteer  engagement, especially when combined with competitions (see suggestion #14).

We would love to know if you have any comments or any tips to share with us. Please leave your comment below! 🙂

Reference: wiki4us.com

Feature Photo Credit: opensourceway

Patrick Yip

Patrick Yip is the former Head of Marketing at OneSky. Heavily attracted to any brilliant growth strategy, well-crafted content and the idea of making the Internet globally accessible.

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2 Responses

  1. migrationtranslators.com.au says:

    Translator is also responsible for a better described business letter or technical writing, i.e. user guide and user manual.

  2. Jordyn Ferri says:

    hello…patrick.. these tips are very useful for any translator, and i got learn a lot form this blog. thanks for sharing…..

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