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 »  Articles Overview  »  Business of Translation and Interpreting  »  Getting Established  »  Sources of Pro Bono Translation Work

Sources of Pro Bono Translation Work

By Anna Fitzgerald | Published  04/14/2005 | Getting Established | Recommendation:
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Quicklink: http://www.proz.com/doc/78
Author:
Anna Fitzgerald
France
French to English translator
 

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Sources of Pro Bono Translation Work
A common dilemma for beginning translators is not having enough experience to be considered by agencies and potential clients. Offering translations on a volunteer basis is one way to combat this problem.

There are many NPOs and NGOs in need of volunteer translation. They can be found using Google or a similar internet search engine. For local groups, enter NGO + the name of your town or city. You can also try your language combination + the expression "volunteer translation". Finally, you can find the websites of organizations whose work you champion and send them your CV via email.

You may also be able to find volunteer translation opportunities by contacting your church, synagogue, mosque, or temple. Or why not contact those organizations that contact you by mail requesting donations for poor children? And don't forget your local Chamber of Commerce. They may have networking sessions at which you could meet organizations and businesses to whom you could initially propose your services free of charge.

Below is a list of websites looking for volunteer translators:
www.onlinevolunteers.org
www.ashoka.org (supports "social entrepreneurs")
www.partners.net/get_involved/volunteers.htm (translation and interpretation - English, Spanish, Portuguese)
www.kidlink.org (translation of children's websites; mostly into Spanish and other languages besides English)
www.idealist.com (membership costs $50/6 months or $95/year)
www.micahnetwork.org
www.babels.org
www.solidaritynetword.org
www.lb.case.rutgers.edu

As a beginning translator, volunteer translation allows you the chance to make a practical assessment of your skills. You also get used to various aspects of the translator's profession, such as meeting deadlines. In addition to building confidence, volunteer translation can be included on your CV, but you must indicate that the work was done pro bono.

If you have little translation experience, it is a good idea to seek the help of a seasoned translator to proof-read your work and offer suggestions. As you will usually not receive feedback from those for whom you are doing volunteer work, this is a good way to ensure that you make progress while offering your services.


Comments on this article

Knowledgebase Contributions Related to this Article
  • Quality issue with volunteer translators? (Posted by Ann Bayliss on 08/3/2016)
    In conclusion, I think that organizations asking for volunteers must have criteria for accepting help as well as well-defined criteria for vetting the work done, and recognizing the translators who helped. Otherwise non-profits risk accepting work that is sub-par, while alienating the more serious and professional of their volunteers.

     
  • Quality issue with volunteer translators? (Posted by Ann Bayliss on 08/3/2016)
    I have had some very good experiences as a volunteer translator. At the time I did my volunteer work, I was already credentialed, but needed experience and so contacted an organization looking for volunteers to translate parts of their website, in exchange for acknowledgement on their site. They sent the files, but I made the amateurish mistake of waiting until I had a sizeable chunk of free time to start. I completed the work but regretted the fact that they had to ask me when I would do it. However, recently I proofread a "Translation" that was done with minimal care and skill by a nameless "Translator" or series of translators. It made me disgusted to work for that organization, as it would do no good to be associated with them.

     
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