Polyglots Translator Research 2020 Results

Thanks to everyone’s participation and help with the promotion, we received 330 replies to the Polyglots Translator Research! We are happy to share that polyglots contributors from 118 different localesLocale Locale = language version, often a combination of a language code and a region code, for instance es_MX denotes Spanish as it’s used in Mexico. A list of all locales supported by WordPress in https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/ and 71 countries took their time to answer the questions.

Image of research response overview. Completed Surveys: 330, Completion Rate: 73%, Incomplete Surveys 120, Most Popular Locations: France (29), Spain (24), Germany (21), India (20), Italy (20), Brazil (16), Netherlands (15), Islamic Republic of Iran (10).
And a heat map of respondent locations.

Summary of the Results

(You can find the more detailed data at the bottom of this post)

A big motivation behind our first-ever Polyglots Translator Research form was to better understand the current pain points of the Polyglots community and to help inform our goals for 2021. From our results, a few items stood out as particularly interesting and can help us with our goals for next year.

  • Better communication and feedback came up a number of times in both the survey responses and in free-form questions. While incorporating a feedback tool into GlotPress will likely help with this, it also highlights other ways we can better use our existing communication tools. Using Slackbots to help encourage new contributors, reaching out directly to new contributors via SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/., or pinging contributors on your localeLocale Locale = language version, often a combination of a language code and a region code, for instance es_MX denotes Spanish as it’s used in Mexico. A list of all locales supported by WordPress in https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/ P2p2 "p2" is the name of the theme that blogs at make.wordpress.org use (and o2 is the accompanying plugin). When asked to post something "on the p2" by a member of the Polyglots team, that usually means you're asked to post on the team blog https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/./forum may help. What other ideas could be useful to improve communication?
  • A lot of respondents felt that growing their team of active translators is a significant task! How can we explore outreach next year? What actions have helped your locales with recruiting new translators, and how can we collaborate globally to recruit overall?
  • For translators, uncertainty regarding how to get translations approved and the time it takes for approval were shared as barriers to contribution. What could improve this experience? In addition to tools and practices for communication, would locales benefit from onboarding/training guides that can easily be translated or other tools to familiarize new contributors with the process?
  • One surprising result that we noted was how heavily featured machine translation was in these results, both as a tool and as a resource people would like to see included in GlotPressGlotPress GlotPress is the translation management software that powers Translate.WordPress.org. More information is available at glotpress.org.! Was that surprising to anyone else? How do you feel about or use machine translation in your work?

What do you think?

Were you surprised with the results or were they as you expected? Which ones were especially interesting?

And as we are nearing the end of the year, we’d love everyone to take a moment and think about how we can learn from the results and set our 2021 goals as global & locale teams. 

What’s the one thing you want to focus on as a translation contributorTranslation Contributor Translation Contributors (formerly known as Translators) are volunteers that focus on translating projects into their language. They contribute to improving their language either in a small way, like fixing a typo, or a large way, likes translating entire projects. in 2021?

This post was compiled & written by @nao, @psmits, and @evarlese. Also, thanks @chaion07 @devinmaeztri @meher @webcommsat (and the rest of the marketing team) for your help through this project!

Detailed Results

[Part 1] Questions to Everyone

What locale(s) do you contribute to?

Showing the results that are more than 2%. See this PDF for the full info.

Image of research responses to "What locale(s) do you contribute to?" showing fr_FR at 8%; es_ES at 6%; de_DEand en_UK at 5%; it_IT at 4% and pt_BR at 4%; fa_IR, de_DE_formal, and ar at 3%;

How much time do you spend on Polyglots?

Image of research responses to "How much time do you spend on Polyglots?" with 42% of responses saying 1-5 hours per week, 36% saying "whenever I can," 13% at 5-10 hours per week, 5% saying 15+ hours per week, and 4% saying 10-15 hours per week.

How would you describe yourself?

Image of research responses to "How would you describe yourself?" with 29% saying professional developer, 28% saying IT professional (other than developer), 13% saying hobbyist, 9% saying other, 8% saying student, 7% saying professional translation, and 7% saying blogger.

Do you participate in global Polyglots activities, such as meetings in the Making WordPress Slack or Global Translation Days?

Image of research responses to "Do you participate in global Polyglots activities?" to which 56% of respondents said no and 44% said yes.

The two primary reasons people don’t participate in the global Polyglots activities/Slack is because of time constraints (29 responses) or not being aware of it (20 responses). Beyond that, others said wanting to prioritize local contributions (7 responses) and wanting to prioritize other contributions (5 responses) as reasons, with others saying they wanted to try to participate in the future (5 responses). 

What tools do you use when translating?

Image of research responses to "What tools do you use when translating?" to which 15% responded Glossary, 15% said machine translation service, 15% said Slack for their locale, 14% said local style guide and documentation, 13% said Poedit, 9% said the global Polyglots Handbook, 8% said the global Slack, 6% said GlotDict, and 6% said another option.

The most common tool people use when translating is a dictionary of some form, then DeepL and SPTE (for French translators). Others mentioned their local handbook, their own custom scripts, and Loco Translate pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, as well.

What is your role in the Polyglots teamPolyglots Team Polyglots Team is a group of multilingual translators who work on translating plugins, themes, documentation, and front-facing marketing copy. https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/.? (for your primary locale)

Image of research responses to "What is your role in the Polyglots team?" to which 56% responded translation contributor, and 44% said editor or locale manager.

[Part 2] Questions to Editors & Locale Managers only

What is your role in your locale?

Image of research responses to "What is your role in your locale?" to which 44% responded General Translation Editor, 30% responded Project Translation Editor, and 27% responded Locale Manager.

How long have you been in this role?

Image of research responses to "How long have you been in this role?" to which 30% responded less than one year, 23% responded with two to five years, 21% said more than five years, 16% said one to two years, and 11% said four to five years.

What are the most useful tools for your work as an editor?

For editors, the top three tools were the local glossary (22 responses), GlotPress (19 responses), and Poedit (18 responses). The Consistency Tool, GlotDict, and Slack also received a similar number of mentions (~12 responses).

What are the difficulties you face as an editor or locale manager?

Encouraging new contributors (15 responses), low-quality translations (12 responses), and time (12 responses) were the top difficulties for editors.

Others mentioned difficulties with encouraging contributors to use the Style Guide, providing feedback to contributors, and needed improvements to communication within their team as other factors. 

Do you have a process for onboarding new contributors?

Image of research responses to "Do you have a process for onboarding new contributors?" to which 62% said yes, and 38% said no.

[If the answer above is yes] Select all of the options that apply to your onboarding process.

Image of research responses to "Select all of the options that apply to your onboarding process." 33% ask the translator to join the local Slack, 32% ask the translator to read documentation, 16% invite the new translator to use training materials, 12% offer regular translation team meetings, and 6% selected another option.

What would improve your experience as an editor? 

Having a feedback or communication tool between editors and translators received the most mentions here (8 responses), with other ideas including showing suggestions from machine translation, hosting weekly (locale) meetings, and better context for stringsString A string is a translatable part of the software. A translation consists of a multitude of localized strings..

What has affected your locale’s translation the most?

Image of research responses to "What has affected your locale's translation the most?" 30% responded that there aren't enough active translators, 18% said there is no feedback tool for translators, 16% said low-quality translations, 13% said there aren't enough active GTEs, 9% selected other, 8% said that they don't have a glossary and/or style guide, and 6% said there are too many review requests.

What is your primary goal as an editor or locale manager?

Image of research responses to "What is your primary goal as an editor or locale manager?" 23% said translating the top 100 plugins, 23% said reducing the number of pending strings, 18% said increasing WordPress users in my locale, 13% said onboarding new PTEs, 11% selected another option, 8% said onboarding more translators, 4% said refining our translation/training process, and 1% said outreach to non-WordPress users.

[Part 3] Questions to non-Editors/Local Managers

How did you get involved?

Image of research responses to "How did you get involved?" 47% said from a website or blog, 19% from another option, 15% through a WordCamp or Contributor Day, 11% through a friend, and 8% through a Translation Day event.

Of the people who responded, most (16 responses) said they got involved through wanting to translate their own plugins in themes. Otherwise, encouragement from the local community, a desire to contribute to WordPress, wanting to fill in missing translations, and a notification through WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ (or a related) site were motivators.

What is your primary motivation for translating WordPress?

Image of research responses to "What is your primary motivation for translating WordPress?" 41% said to translate a plugin/theme I use, 40% said they just want to contribute to WordPress or open source, 9% said they translate plugins/themes they've developed, 5% said they offer translation services to a theme or plugin author, and 5% selected "other."

What has been the most useful tool, person, or resource for translating WordPress?

Google Translate (19 responses), Poedit (17 responses), and another contributor (11 responses) were the top three resources listed in our research. Glossaries, GlotDict, GlotPress, the local community, and self-motivation were also mentioned as the next top resources.

What has been the biggest barrier to you translating WordPress?

The biggest barrier was time for approval takes too long (20 responses), followed by challenges in getting started (13 responses), lack of understanding of the technical terminology (9 responses), and not having enough time (8 responses).

What was the first thing you did when you started translating WordPress?

Image of research responses to "What was the first thing you did when you started translating WordPress?" 55% submitted a translation, 22% said they read the Handbook or guidelines, 11% said they joined the locale Slack, 6% reached out to an active contributor, 4% selected "other," and 2% joined the global Slack.

What would improve your translating experience?

Image of research responses to "What would improve your translating experience?" 18% selected clearer instructions for getting translations approved, 16% said more help with starting to translate, 16% said more feedback on rejected translations, 13% said easier communication with reviewers, 12% said easier communication with other contributors, 11% said more responsibility (such as approving translations), 10% said more recognition for their contributions, and 5% selected "other."

Do you want to become a PTEProject Translation Editor A Project Translation Editor (often referred to as PTE) is a person, who has access to validate strings on a specific project (for example BuddyPress, WooCommerce or Twenty Fourteen) for one specific locale. A project translation editor can approve strings that are added by translation contributors. Per project translation, editors are appointed by a general translation editor after a request by the project author or by the contributors themselves. (project translation editorProject Translation Editor A Project Translation Editor (often referred to as PTE) is a person, who has access to validate strings on a specific project (for example BuddyPress, WooCommerce or Twenty Fourteen) for one specific locale. A project translation editor can approve strings that are added by translation contributors. Per project translation, editors are appointed by a general translation editor after a request by the project author or by the contributors themselves.) or GTEGeneral Translation Editor A General Translation Editor (often referred to as GTE) is a person, who has global access to validate strings on all projects for a specific locale. (general translation editorGeneral Translation Editor A General Translation Editor (often referred to as GTE) is a person, who has global access to validate strings on all projects for a specific locale.) in the future?

Image of research responses to "Do you want to become a PTE or GTE in the future?" 49% said yes, absolutely!, 32% said maybe for a specific project, 9% said no, and 9% were unsure what a PTE or GTE is.