BuzzFeed to Deliver Outsourced Multilingual Content: Here’s How

buzzfeedOnline content giant BuzzFeed, best known for its viral list posts, is currently in the process of expanding its outreach. In a multilingual world, BuzzFeed knows how important it is to allow access to its content all over the globe. The company plans to deliver content to Spanish, French, and Portuguese-speaking countries all over the world – but the plan isn’t to use professional translators.

Outsourcing Translation

The going rate for a top-notch translator is roughly 20 cents per word. BuzzFeed has an enormous amount of content on its site and is constantly producing new, user-generated content. As such, traditional translation and regional editors are, while feasible, not exactly practical in the eyes of the site. The answer? Language-learning service Duolingo.

Here’s how it’s going to work. Duolingo is a platform for students of a language to practice their skills for free by translating online content, which subsequently helps their foreign language skills improve. Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn believes that this arrangement benefits both the students and the companies receiving the service: students receive a high-quality free language education, and companies get translations for a far lower rate than they otherwise would.

Duolingo’s Success

BuzzFeed isn’t the only company taking advantage of this service. As it turns out, CNN has also figured out that it can get a lot of translation leverage with the use of Duolingo. For what it’s worth, von Ahn believes that BuzzFeed is one of the first of a number of clients that are paying Duolingo for its services, and predicts great success – up to tens of millions of dollars a year.

All of this is a testament to the unbelievable power of crowdsourcing – whether it’s for funds or for translations. Duolingo itself is offering courses in the above languages as well as in German, Italian, and English, with plans to expand with user-generated courses in other world languages. This kind of symbiosis could do wonders for an already global market, bridging content marketing borders all over the world.

What do you think of BuzzFeed’s decision to outsource its translations?

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Tree is a somewhat nomadic graduate student pursuing an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Drew University. A self-identified “diplobrat,” she spent over 16 years living as an expat in countries like Guatemala, Bolivia, and Tanzania. Tree graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature, a minor in Studio Art, and a concentration in Landscape Studies. In between writing poetry for school and content for CEM, she dabbles in goat herding and freelancing. Other interests include reading, watercolor painting, gardening, and traveling.

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