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Poll: How about translating for charities for free?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:11
SITE STAFF
Nov 16, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How about translating for charities for free?".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Levan Namoradze  Identity Verified
Georgia
Local time: 16:11
Member (2005)
English to Georgian
+ ...
Missing answer Nov 16, 2005

On my mind, an answer is missing: 'I did that occasionally'.

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Ian M-H
United States
Local time: 07:11
German to English
+ ...
There are charities and charities... Nov 16, 2005

I've worked for several not-for-profit organisations, both in the sense of translating for them and in the past as a paid manager and volunteer. I don't see that charitable status (or the equivalent in different countries) is on its own a particularly relevant factor: I have no reason to provide my services free of charge to an organisation whose aims I don't share, regardless of that organisation's status.

Charitable organisations are also very different from one another in terms of size and financial status - a charity in receipt of substantial public funding, for example, can pay for translation just as it pays for premises, printing and power. Indeed, some kinds of grant funding specifically cover such expenses.

As a rule, I prefer to charge for my work and keep that separate from decisions about charitable giving. On occasion, though, I have done work for a charity, charged for it and then made a donation.

That method has an additional advantage in that people get an idea of what translation costs - it's not unusual for them to be surprised when they realise that the "little favour" they asked you to do is actually a piece of work for which you would normally charge 100 euros/dollars... Which in turn gives you the chance to point out that it's still cheaper than getting in a plumber

[Edited at 2005-11-16 11:57]


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:11
Spanish to English
Working for charity or charity organisations Nov 16, 2005

[quote]Ian Harknett wrote:

I've worked for several not-for-profit organisations, both in the sense of translating for them and in the past as a paid manager and volunteer. I don't see that charitable status (or the equivalent in different countries) is on its own a particularly relevant factor:


I translate for charitable organisations eg. Cancer Research Fund, but not for free. Most charities have their paid professionals, organisers, etc., probably earning more than me (I have yet to see a poor person working in the higher echelons of charitable organisations, perhaps due to other reasons, but...) If I want to donate to a charity I give money, I can't afford to give my professional time.


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Marion Schimmelpfennig  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:11
Member (2003)
English to German
Maybe Translators4Kids would be something you'd like Nov 16, 2005

David Brown wrote:
Most charities have their paid professionals, organisers, etc., probably earning more than me (I have yet to see a poor person working in the higher echelons of charitable organisations, perhaps due to other reasons, but...)


Translators4Kids was "born" on ProZ.com, and almost all volunteers and members are also members of ProZ.com. They come from all over the world, also from poorer countries. Everyone is working without getting paid, and we spend a considerable amount of time for our charity.

Ian Harknett wrote:
Charitable organisations are also very different from one another in terms of size and financial status - a charity in receipt of substantial public funding, for example, can pay for translation just as it pays for premises, printing and power. Indeed, some kinds of grant funding specifically cover such expenses.


Translators4Kids has charitable status in France, but we don't receive public funding. All funds come from membership fees and donations (in cash or in dedicated services/goods).

Maybe you would like to find out more about us? Then simply visit http://www.translators4kids.com

Kind regards
Marion


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Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translations as volunteer work Nov 16, 2005

Ian Harknett wrote:

On occasion, though, I have done work for a charity, charged for it and then made a donation.

That method has an additional advantage in that people get an idea of what translation costs - it's not unusual for them to be surprised when they realise that the "little favour" they asked you to do is actually a piece of work for which you would normally charge 100 euros/dollars... Which in turn gives you the chance to point out that it's still cheaper than getting in a plumber

[Edited at 2005-11-16 11:57]



I do volunteer my time in charitable organizations. And in many cases, I prefer to donate my time by doing free translations for them, as I feel that it is a better and more efficient way for me to contribute: the time it takes me to do their translations, compared to the time of physically going and doing something there, is worth more.

But I do like your method of translating, charging for it and making a donation.

I do agree, I may feel good that I contributed and "saved" the charity a big amount of money; but as translation is so poorly appreciated by the "uninitiated", being seen as something "my secretary would do it if she had the time", this system allows them to actually realize the value of the work you are donating.

Actually, tomorrow I'm meeting with a charity who wants me to do translations for them. I know they are strapped for money: they have a few paying positions, but most of the work is done by volunteers. I think that I'll go halfway: I'll do the work, give them an "invoice" and say it is my monetary donation, so they really appreciate the work involved...

THanks for the idea Ian!!!

heidi


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:11
Member
English to Turkish
Not for charity, but for grassroots orgs Nov 16, 2005

I share Ian's viewpoint for the most part: I wouldn't translate for free for a charity that receives funds (and can pay for paper, ads, printing, or web services). But I do free translations for a grassroots organization that is working for a cause (about which I care, too, of course), without getting any funds whatsoever. And when I occasionally get a translation from them, I give the same amount of time and energy as I do for any paid work.

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 08:11
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
For my church Nov 16, 2005

Ian Harknett wrote:

I have no reason to provide my services free of charge to an organisation whose aims I don't share, regardless of that organisation's status.

]


Absolutely, Ian.

I started in translation not as a career, but to meet a felt need: my church needed good children's curriculum and the best I could find was in English. Since then I've gone to school, gotten an MA in translation, and become a professional. I still do lots of translating for free for my church, both the local congregation and for a publisher who distributes the curriculum and other Christian literature at extremely low cost to churches that can't afford to pay "real" prices. (BTW, he does have permission from the original publisher.)

But just translate for free for any non-profit org that comes along? No way. It has to be something I believe in--not necessarily religious, but as Ian says, an org whose aims I share.


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Bill Greendyk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What goes around, comes around! Nov 16, 2005

In a strange way, on more than one occasion, when asked to translate for a charity for free, I have done so, only to find that someone working for the charity was somehow connected to a paying client who also needed a freelancer, and I ended up getting paid work as an unexpected benefit! Thus, what started out as what I hope was an altruistic effort on my part has on numerous occasions resulted in being indirectly rewarded with some long-term clients.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:11
Italian to English
+ ...
I give discounted rates Nov 16, 2005

I used to be a very active volunteer with one small charity, and part of my "duties" was translation of the web site.

Apart from that, I tend to give a discounted rate to charities - but then I do to students too, and private individuals paying out of their own pockets for translations that their company refuses to pay for (hey, you speak English don't you? So why do you want a translator?). The latter happens amazingly often, and with some very surprising (or perhaps not) companies.


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