He’s known as Aurel and he’s the first user to reach the level “Language Addict” on Tradixo. We wanted to know more about him so we asked him a few questions:
Hello Aurel, first of all how are you?
Apart from my periorbital dark circles, I am great, thanks.
You are the first “Language Addict”, are you happy about that achievement?
Hell yeah! I think I will mention this achievement on my resume (he laughs).
Why do you translate so much?
That’s a tough question. I have been raised in a multiculural literary-minded family. From this education, stems, I assume, an interest in words and foreign cultures… hence in foreign languages… But instead of going through my whole personal history, let me rephrase your question and get straight to your underlying point: why I am so active on Tradixo?
Short answer: it’s addictive - with high BAS (if you’re familiar with Gray’s theory).
First, because it is challenging: often the enquiries are slighlty tricky, contain some technical words, slang, etc. or require some cunniness with words and language awareness (some requests are even about poems!) to find the fair equilibrium between paraphrase and metaphrase and have an adequate skopos. It is very seldom that you just see the request and translate it straight away, even towards your mothertongue. You need to think first!
Secondly, because Tradixo has (or is) a fun community. The “social experience” is built over a bundle of interactions.
You have some “pressure” when translating, because of the (friendly) competition with other translations and because of the voting system. But you can also endorse the role of the judge, voting for the translations you prefer! From time to time, you can witness some private jokes as well as a few weird and/or amusing requests, to which you can answer both by a translation and a comment (such as: dude, no girl is going to fall for that).
Thirdly, because, at the end of the day, you can easily manage the time you spend on Tradixo: you don’t have to translate a three-pager, just a couple of sentences! Instead of taking a cigarette-break, you spend five minutes on Tradixo, clear your head and you are up and running again (and that’s much better for your lungs).
Do you feel Tradixo has helped you improve your language skills as well?
I would not be able to measure the improvement. But, I think through the questions I asked myself, through the translations of others, presenting different (and sometimes way clever) angles, progresses have been achieved. Besides I had the opportunity to do some translations in languages where my skills unfortunately became a bit rusty.
Nichou and yourself had a fierce competition to stay on top of the leaderboard. Did you know nichou before you started using Tradixo?
No idea who the guy was. By the way, “used to have” would have been more appropriate (he laughs).
Nichou was the first Awaken Linguist, and since then your profile showed competitive message to each other. Is the competition spirit also a source of motivation to translate on Tradixo?
It is part of the challenge and I should have mentionned the leaderboard earlier. Somehow, it completes the intellectual challenge with a “physical” ego-based side: clearly more a kind competitive spirit than something utterly mannish activating your Leydig cells (you’re still behind a computer)! And it develops a playful reciprocal teasing, with just enough pride in it to enhance motivation.
I saw this guy bragging about being at the top of the leaderboard for two months or so, swaggering with a profile stating: “Catch me if you can”, as if he were Frank Abagnale Junior. Seriously? I had to catch him. Unfortunately I was not quick enough to grab him before the Awaken Linguist level. I was rather close though. I quickly caught him on the way to Language Addict and left him more than 100 Tradix’stars behind: he must have had a severe stitch!
Thank you for your answers Aurel. Is there anything you would like to say before we end this interview?
Thanks for creating Tradixo, I do believe that crowdsoucing translation is a nice way to fill in the gap between machine translations and professional human translation and that you have done it the right way, with a good balance between seriousness and fun and a credit system that should avoid the usual danger of relying solely on the wisdom of the crowd. I hope it will encounter the success it deserves. But I am confident that you can build this community further, enhance this nice competitive spirit between indivuals (should I say Tradixoters?), universities, etc. So good luck with your future developments!