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Early and Continuous Clarification of Translator Expectations


This practices applies in any context where people volunteer time to a Collaborative translation initiative.

Problem description

Volunteers who join an online Collaborative translation community may not have a clear idea of issues like:

  • remuneration
  • ownership of the translations
  • speed at which their contributions will be actually published
  • what the host organization plans to do with the content

When there is a mismatch between volunteers expectations and reality, this can lead to resentment in the community, and in extreme cases, potential lawsuits.


Therefore, make sure that volunteers are told what to expect, as early as possible. For example, as soon as new contributors have completed the site's registration procedure (if your site requires one), then take them automatically to a page that describes those expectations. Make sure that page will be easily accessible from a variety of points in the system.

In addition to this early clarification, make sure there are opportunities to remind contributors of them. For example, when they submit a new contribution, you may want to provide them again with a message clarifying when they can expect this contribution to become public.

Links to related patterns

  • None

Real-life examples

  • No specific example for now