Expert Opinion – Why Transfluent Translators Thrive

Last week we interviewed Sonja Kähkönen, author of, “Exploring knowledge worker motivation in autonomous microtasking and interdependent problem solving tasks on virtual platforms.”  Today we’re going to take a closer look at her work, providing excerpts and observations that demonstrate how our platform is not only great for our clients but also for our translators. Sonja’s entire theses is available for download here.

She begins, “The objective of this study is to understand why temporary virtual knowledge workers conduct autonomous tasks and interdependent problem solving tasks on virtual platforms.”  Sonja wanted to know why platforms like Transfluent work.  How do we attract quality translators and what is it that we’re doing to keep them engaged?

Through a series of interviews combined with research she was able to determine a number of factors that contribute to the success of Transfluent’s translation service.

Globalization, the result of fast, affordable Internet is what enabled Transfluent to be born.  “Online ventures such as Transfluent… represent new ways of organizing virtual labor as they utilize crowdsourcing technology in their business models. For example human-powered language translation services providing Transfluent utilizes its network of over 120 000 freelancers to do the translation  via web application.”

In this knowledge economy, freelance workers have an opportunity to take work at their own pace and to contract with organizations that fulfill their needs.  So what is it that motivates our translators to stay engaged?

“Language translators were motivated by autonomy, meaningful (creative,  purposeful, and challenging) tasks, time management, self-improvement, and variety of tasks.”

Our translators are able to take jobs when they are available, set their own schedules, work in their own environments without distraction all while continuing the build expertise.

As important as quality of work is to us, it is also a motivating factor to our translators.  One translator said in their interview with Sonja, “As I commit to do something, the result has to be good. It’s very important – – I have to do what I have promised to do…”

As freelancers, their individual reputations are on the line.  In fact they were willing to put in more time than required to ensure that the quality of translation is satisfactory to the client.

In conclusion, Sonja writes:

“This study gave an insight on what motivates freelancers to work on temporary tasks and solve complex problems on virtual platforms. As a case study, the research gave an answer to the research problem based on the views of fifteen interviewees from three case organizations. The findings revealed that in addition to money as extrinsic motivator, there are many intrinsic motivators that encourage virtual knowledge workers to work on tasks. As it was stated in the beginning of this thesis, these virtual knowledge workers value the autonomy and flexibility of this type of work. That is, they can better balance between work and free time. In addition, they can use their work time effectively. Also, they are able to self-select their tasks, and be part of wider community as they solve problems in teams and create new contacts.”

Transfluent was thrilled to be a part of this important study.  We continue to work each day to make our platform the best it can be for both our clients and translators.