Termwiki Site To Watch In 2011

TermWiki.com, a multilingual dictionary platform, recently surpassed 500,000 terms in over 150 industries, making it one of the fastest-growing sites on the Internet (based on Alexa traffic rankings). The site has managed to build upon the traditional dictionary model by providing collated images, videos and news links, along with other context-giving data, which all users are invited to add to, modify and review � all very Web 2.0. TermWiki seems to have mastered the controlled collaboration model (read: crowdsourcing) by providing a free and useful tool for translators and glossary owners to use, and by creating a system which benefits the most active contributors, through social networking and exposure to potential clients.

Attracting regular traffic to the site is the �My Glossary’ module, which allows users to store, develop, share and translate personal glossaries online. Glossary ownership is not for everyone, but for certain professions � such as translation � the development of a multilingual glossary is vital to increase accuracy, efficiency and consistency in projects. The thing is, up until now, no company had made a serious effort to create a good, online glossary management platform. My Glossary seems to tick all the boxes and has generated some excellent feedback from translators.

TermWiki has also been pushing the site’s professional networking functions, by integrating user profiles, instant messaging, and term ownership. Links on each new or translated term lead interested viewers to the profile page of the creator, and from there to his/her personal webpage, resume and contact details (all optional). Given the niche-industry focus of the system, professionals searching for industry-specific terms in obscure languages will know where to look for translators working in their sector in the future.

In order to keep attracting new users and to help existing users make full use of the offered functions, TermWiki will have to make some improvements. For example, although each term in TermWiki comes with a discussion page to encourage dialogue about the correct translation and usage of that particular term, the site lacks an overall, general forum for discussions. This reduces the sense and existence of a community on TermWiki.

The site has also been criticized because it requires users to fill out all accompanying term attributes fully when adding a term, even within their own glossaries. This includes specifying the industry and product category of each term, as well as providing a character-minimum definition. Many glossary owners are likely to find this process cumbersome, although it will certainly raise the overall quality of data in the system.

In conclusion, TermWiki has all the necessary properties for community-driven growth, and should be poised for great things in 2011. Translators and other users make regular use of the site as an online tool, while simultaneously marketing their services to potential clients. However, TermWiki will have to better develop how it presents and offers social and professional networking to ensure full take-up of this aspect of the site. It will also have to be cautious to avoid putting users off with overly strict control of imported data.

As the term total continues to grow, the site will become a valuable reference resource, especially for industry-specific terminology. I will watch its development with interest.

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