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The Almighty Buck Games

Steam Translation Community Slaving Away 214

Posted by timothy
from the in-their-air-conditioned-galleys dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Steam has decided to build a community effort to get its Steam platform and game files translated by the community, but here is the catch: Translators do not get paid. Millions could be saved by Steam by making the community work for free. The article describes basic estimates on how much is saved by Steam in translation costs."
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Steam Translation Community Slaving Away

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  • Oh the irony... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Pino Grigio (2232472) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @05:42PM (#37504520)
    That slashdot, which touts "free" as in "beer" software and Linux at every opportunity, has posted an incredulous article about Valve crowd-sourcing work for nothing.
  • by SquirrelDeth (1972694) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @05:47PM (#37504558)
    and you are bilingual wouldn't you want for your non bilingual Korean (or whatever) speaking buddy to be able to play the same games as you? I would think that contributors should at least get free games though.
  • Re:Oh the irony... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 24, 2011 @05:48PM (#37504568)

    Open source is Free. You pay nothing for it.

    Steam is literally an advertising platform used to shove corporate DRM-ware down your throat. Hell, Steam itself IS DRM.

    You may not have to pay anything to get Steam itself - but what you're installing is a DRM and advertising platform.

    Compare with something useful like a web browser or a complete operating system. Yeah, I'd say the two are slightly different.

  • what money saved? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveGod (703167) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @06:03PM (#37504650)

    The "article" assumes Valve would otherwise pay to have the translations done.

    This is a questionable assumption. The alternative assumption is that these translations would be uneconomic to do professionally therefore they have allowed the community to do translations instead of not having it at all. The latter assumption seems more probable given we're talking about the back catalogue.

    It's difficult to judge since the "article" has no citations, not even a link for the quote cited "Steam forums". There's no basic information such as the languages being translated.

    And... Oh forget it. The "article" isn't even of a standard worthy of criticising.

  • Double standard? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MimeticLie (1866406) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @06:10PM (#37504702)
    "Millions could be saved by Steam by making the community work for free."

    So when open source crowdsources development it's great, but when video game companies do it it's exploitative? And how exactly are volunteers "forced" to do anything?

    If the costs of professional translation are as high as the article suggests (nearly $1 million just to translate Steam storefront pages), then this move makes sense to me. How many sales are you going to gain by having 26 different translations of a game? How many people who might use a translation wouldn't have just played the game in English in the absence of one? Even Valve's AAA titles from before this weren't in 26 languages. Half-Life 2 [steampowered.com] is only in 18. And that's for a big budget game. For smaller titles, the benefit from translating is undoubtedly not worth the cost.

    Given that, I think this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Rather than fans of a game having to organize a team to translate it and hack up a patch, there is now a way for everyone to contribute as much as they like to a publisher-sponsored effort. You'd have to be pretty damn cynical to see this as a bad thing.
  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @06:13PM (#37504722)

    Maybe has their children hostage? No?

    So how are they "making" them do this.

    Just wait until this moron finds out all the people being "made" to write linux code. Actually he has a minecraft section in his top menu, is he getting paid for that prime advertising spot? Or was he "made" to do that by the evil Mojang folk?

  • Re:Oh the irony... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pino Grigio (2232472) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @06:33PM (#37504824)
    Nobody is forcing them to do it for fucks sake!
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @07:12PM (#37504988) Journal

    Slashdot has decided to build a community effort to get its Slashdot news blog proof-read, edited and reviewed by the community, but here is the catch: commenters do not get paid. Millions could be saved by Slashdot by making the community work for free. The article [youtube.com] describes basic estimates on how much is saved by Slashdot in editing costs.

  • Re:Oh the irony... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Abstrackt (609015) * on Saturday September 24, 2011 @09:13PM (#37505510)

    Red Hat makes money primarily on support and if you don't want to pay them, then you have other options, you can go without support or you can hire somebody else. With Steam, you pay for the product and support or you do without, the other option being piracy.

    I'd say that makes it very different, when a corporation uses volunteer labor for a pay only product, that's fundamentally different from when a corporation makes money off a freely available product.

    I know people like Steam and all but it's not the only legal option. If you don't like Steam you don't use it, games can still be purchased through other channels, but if someone does like Steam enough to go above and beyond giving them their money what's wrong with that?

    On the other end of the equation, what's wrong with a corporation using volunteers? If they have people lining up to work for free on a project they can make some money off why wouldn't they let them? All they offered was a fuzzy feeling and people still lined up. This seems like a case of everyone getting what they want.

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