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How to do Voluntary translations ? Advice and links welcome
Thread poster: Alexandre Chetrite

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 04:29
English to French
Jul 1, 2009

Hello,

Just a simple question: where can one find voluntary translations through the Internet apart from applying to associations and organizations?

Is there a major website offering services from voluntary translators to people who need it?

Good-bye.


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Michelle Plaistow  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:29
French to English
+ ...
Voluntary translation organisations Jul 1, 2009

Well the best way is to apply directly, but I know that that can be a bit time-consuming so I'll tell you which ones I have had most work from. UN Volunteers always has jobs going, and once you sign up with them they send regular emails about the jobs they require translating. The ICDL (International Children's Digital Library) also regularly need help.

I can tell you that an English to French translator would be much sought after too. I often see jobs that require this, particularly from UN Volunteers. This is a very good reference to have on your CV as the texts you translate are just as complicated technically as any you would do for paying clients.

Also, keep an eye out on Proz.com jobs (and may I mention their rival TC too?), as there are regularly other Pro Bono jobs there too. Although be careful that these are genuine NGOs, rather than just a company wanting to save themselves a few pennies. I would rather some other translator got paid for doing those kinds of jobs than me doing it for free, in the name of our profession.


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Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:29
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Translations for Progress Jul 1, 2009

Hello Alexandre,

You might also find this site useful: http://www.translationsforprogress.org/main.php

Regards,

Nicole


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kjmcguire
Netherlands
Local time: 04:29
Chinese to English
A list of volunteer opportunities Jul 1, 2009

Hi Alexandre,

I posted a short list of organisations which offer volunteer opportunities on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It is by no means a comprehensive list but it might be a good place to start.

http://kellytranslates.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/pro-bono-translation/

The UN Volunteers portal mentioned above is perhaps the best place to look for volunteer opportunities. It is updated regularly and offers a wide range of opportunities for pro bono translation.

I'd also recommend checking the Translators Without Borders website for opportunities as they have "urgent needs for French to English and English to French translators and editors to take on short documents pro bono for humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Aides and Handicap International".


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:29
German to English
+ ...
Traducteurs Sans Frontières Jul 1, 2009

http://www.tsf-twb.org/ (French Home page)
http://tsf.eurotexte.fr/index-en.shtml (English)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:29
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A silent forum Jul 1, 2009

As a translator who is always so busy in paid translation but keeps thinking every couple of days of becoming the part-time servant of others in need, I can only thank you Alexandre for this forum.

I am 43 years old. And my plan is to offer my translation services for free to anyone in need of them when I retire. That is (with the current regulations) 22 years from now. I want to be in that scene of an oldie who passes away while working on a translation and has a screen full of Y's from the keyboard's autorepeat.

Ok. That is the long-term plan and it of course does not depend on me but on higher estates but, what is keeping us translators from getting involved now with organisations as the ones reported by fellow translators in this forum? What do we fear? Why are we so reluctant to offer our help? After all, we don't lose anything: if time comes when some need requires our abilities, we can always reject the job if we are too busy with paid work or have to take care of family or other aspects of our lives.

Having said so, I am the one who hasn't dared yet but is encouraging others to do it. Not a good example, huh? I must have a conversation with myself, ask a higher power about it, and take serious steps.

Maybe you can share your views about this Alexandre as some words of encouragement for our fellow translators... well, I admit it: encouragement for me!

[Edited at 2009-07-01 21:14 GMT]


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Sandrine Pouchain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:29
Member (2008)
English to French
Thank you for asking Alexandre! Jul 2, 2009

Because now I have the information I would not have dared asking!

Indeed Tomas, let's all have a conversation with ourselves

Cheers,
Sandrine.


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chica nueva
Local time: 16:29
Chinese to English
A link on this site ... Jul 2, 2009

http://www.proz.com/forum/translators4kids-98.html

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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 05:29
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
If you use open-source software... Jul 2, 2009

... you can voluntarily localize it into your language.

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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
UNV and TSF Jul 2, 2009

The main difference between UN Volunteers and TSF, according to my own experience: TSF selects its translators beforehand via a translation test, while the UN Volunteer selects on resume for each offer. However, the quality of your work will be judged by the "client" after each mission and their comments will be posted on your profile. So you'd rather be as perfect as if it was paid translation!It's true there are a few EN>FR offers, but competition is fierce.

BTW, there is a whole article on Proz about this same question, where I found the information months ago.


[Modifié le 2009-07-02 12:00 GMT]


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Dorothee Rault  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:29
Member (2007)
French to German
+ ...
Always in need and very interesting subject Jul 2, 2009

Dear Alexandre,

I have worked for a while for Ashoka who sustains social entrepreneurship.

Nice people and challenging work!

By the way, I did not need any power from above, but just sent an email - they answer quite quickly-:).

What is nice about working for NGO? You learn a lot and get a lot of warm feedback!

All the best,

Dorothee


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alisonmatthews
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
ATD Fourth World Jul 5, 2009

Hi,

I also do quite a lot of voluntary translations and find them very rewarding and interesting. The 'client' is always grateful and friendly and the feedback they give you is very positive.

I recently contacted ATD Fourth World and they are looking for volunteer translators and interpreters. They have teams in London, Paris and Brussels and regularly need people to help them out.

http://www.atd-uk.org/


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Lee Heredia
United States
Local time: 22:29
French to English
+ ...
More sites for volunteer work. Aug 26, 2009

I'd recommend http://www.linguaspirit.com click on the FreeSpirit link for more info

For Spanish>English and maybe other target languages try http://www.corresponsaldepaz.org

Also, try for French, English, Spanish, and Russian http://www.docip.org

Also for FrenchEnglish try http://cab.net/fr/node/111 to work with Centre d'action benevole de Montreal/ Volunteer Bureau of Montreal.

Sorry, my program doesn't allow foreign characters.

Lee

P.S. I was presented with an offer of voluntary work from Spanish>English within five days of making an enquiry with LinguaSpirit.


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Sandrine A.  Identity Verified

Local time: 04:29
English to French
my experience with volunteer translations Aug 31, 2009

France-Japon wrote:

The main difference between UN Volunteers and TSF, according to my own experience: TSF selects its translators beforehand via a translation test, while the UN Volunteer selects on resume for each offer. However, the quality of your work will be judged by the "client" after each mission and their comments will be posted on your profile. So you'd rather be as perfect as if it was paid translation!It's true there are a few EN>FR offers, but competition is fierce.

BTW, there is a whole article on Proz about this same question, where I found the information months ago.


[Modifié le 2009-07-02 12:00 GMT]


In my (very short - I only sent my first applications on August 9th) experience, UN Volunteers does not just select on the basis of your résumé. I am currently completing a translation for a UN organization, and here is how it went : I applied through their website (and indeed you are required to attach your résumé). Then a few days later I received an e-mail saying I was shortlisted for the job and asking me (and the other would-be volunteers)to complete a short test translation (about 200 words) "in order to gauge my translation abilities". Finally a few days later I was notified of my selection. All in one I felt it was a very thorough process. And I must say these people (well at least the people from the organization I am working for) are really, really nice and helpful ; this is a really useful and enjoyable experience and one I will certainly mention on my CV! Plus you get to "meet" truly inspirational people and the material you get ton translate are real eye-openers.

Back to the original topic : as I said, I started sending applications to different NGOs about three weeks ago, and they ALL responded favorably (which I certainly had not anticipated, and I must say there have already been a couple of occasions on which I have had to turn down jobs). Some submitted me to a test translation, others did not. Here are a few of the organizations I applied to :

- UN Volunteers (onlinevolunteering.org)
- Ashoka
- ICDL (but I have stopped, as the books I have had to translate were really, really strange)
- Translations for Progress (though I have found some of their jobs do not seem to stem from very "serious" organizations)
- IAI (International Alliance fo Inhabitants)
- DCI (Defence for Children International)

But do not compromise yourself with translating issues you do not feel comfortable with. I for one would never translate for an organization that promotes issues I strongly oppose. Of course I am honest and recognize I am doing it in order to gain experience in the first place, but I really get a kick out of thinking I am helping people.

And I think ENG>FR translators are the lucky ones regarding demand for volunteer translation!

Hope this helps!


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perry  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Do you know CFWW? Aug 31, 2009

I am a volunteer for CFWW (The Cystic Fybrosis Worldwide) and I love it. They don't send jobs too regularly, but when they do it's always interesting. Most texts are of medical nature, but not to technical. Most of them are intended for the whole public (mainly people living with CF and/or their parents).
The translations coordinator is a very nice person and you aren't expected to do more than you can!
For me it's very pleasing to know that I´m helping people someway.

To know more about CCF visit their page at http://www.cfww.org

To volunteer as a translator send a message to volunteers@cfww.org



[Edited at 2009-08-31 11:39 GMT]


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