--tiki-index: Before process undo Collaborative Translation Patterns Repository | Contributor-Appropriate Chunk Size

Contributor-Appropriate Chunk Size


This practice is particular applicable in the context of a volunteer-based Collaborative translation community.

Problem description

Sometimes, the "natural" unit of work that you would find in a conventional professional translation context is too large to be carried out by a single volunteer.

For example, while it is reasonable to ask a professional to translate a 30 pages document, the time commitment for doing this probably exceeds the availability of many contributors in the community.


Therefore, split large pieces of work into smaller chunks that better correspond to the availability of members of your community.

The actual size of the chunks depends on the nature of your community. If it is a smallish community of people who are highly committed to your cause, then you may be able to split the work into chunks that can be completed in one or two evenings. If on the other hand your community consists of a very large crowd of people who are not particularly committed to your cause, then you have to split the work into chunks that can be completed in a minute or two (ex: a single sentence).

Links to related patterns

  • This practice is similar to Community-Appropriate Project Size, except that the later is about splitting the work into smaller projects that can be completed collectively by the community in a reasonable amount of time.
  • If your community is such that you need to split the work into very small chunks, then In-House Revision can be used to alleviate inconsistencies that may arise between the various chunks.
  • Smaller chunks of work help Support Variable Levels of Involvment

Real-life examples

  • In Kiva and Translators without Borders, chunks consist of a single page.
  • Researchers who use Amazon Mechanical Turk to collect large amounts of natural language data tend to use single sentences or paragraphs as their basic unit of work.