Poll: Have you ever done a translation for a non-profit organization?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 17:59
Jul 19, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever done a translation for a non-profit organization?".

This poll was originally submitted by Daniela Zambrini

View the poll here

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


Fabio Said (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:59
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, and I get paid for it Jul 19, 2009

One of my subjects of specialization is NGO/third sector documents: executive summaries, campaign texts, leaflets etc. (http://fidusinterpres.com/pttranslator/experten.htm#6)

In the past I used to be asked to translate for free for non-profit clients, and I almost always rejected offers. In fact, there may have been 2 or 3 occasions when I accepted to do free work for a good cause.

Now I only do it with financial compensation, and have established very rewarding relations with many non-profits. Rewarding for both sides: I get the feeling of being well paid while helping serious humanitarian/political/environmental causes, and non-profits, in turn, can actually profit from their taking translation and translators seriously and not asking them to work for free.


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
How do non-profits actually profit from not asking them to work for free? Jul 19, 2009

Hi Fabio, I appreciate your comments, and while I agree that translation work generally should be paid, and many non-profits can afford to pay for translations (non-profit does not mean poor, many actually handle huge amounts of money and pay their employees and directors good salaries), I have done pro bono work for agencies that I care about that I know are underfunded.

The truth is that many non-profits, especially smaller organizations working at the local level (at least here in the US) do not have the funding, and often cannot afford the cost of translation. In the US the result of the lack of funding is often the distribution of poor to awful materials in Spanish, for example, often translated by unqualified employees.

I guess my question is how

Fabio Said wrote:
...non-profits, in turn, can actually profit from their taking translation and translators seriously and not asking them to work for free.

other than the obvious fact that they are not going to distribute substandard material in the target language, especially when they lack funding to start with?

This could be interesting in terms of future client education.

[Edited at 2009-07-19 21:24 GMT]


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
For a long time Jul 19, 2009

For many years I have done work for a particular non-profit and since I agree with the type of work they do, I have always given them a nice break on the price. The work I do for them also tends to be easy and quick for me to do, so in terms of time I come out OK.

I has turned out to be an excellent value for them because much of the work I have done has resulted in large grants from different sources, so like anything else it is just another investment that has paid off. Such grants include a certain amount for administrative expenses, and what I get paid is merely part of that.

They are like any other client, where what we look for is a win-win situation.


Dejan Škrebić  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:59
English to Serbian
+ ...
Have done it both ways Jul 19, 2009

I have done both: translated free of charge, or charged my translations for non-profit organisations.

My free of charge translations were mostly one-page circulars appealing for financial support, very usual way to collect funds here in Bosnia&Herzegovina. Hence, that was my help, more or less financial support to themicon_smile.gif


Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jul 19, 2009

For religious charity and information sites.


Local time: 20:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
I did translate free of charge for Rotary International Jul 19, 2009

The only time I ever translated free of charge for a non-profit organization was for Rotary International and the Wheelchair Foundation for a 200 wheelchair donation which was sent by container from China to Venezuela

The translation took the greater part of 2002 and was SP>EN>SP


Local time: 02:59
Spanish to Hungarian
+ ...
non profit Jul 19, 2009

I have wiorked for a non profit organization since 1996, in the beginning for free, and since 2000 oficially, but very cheap. Well, it is non-profit for me too, but I like working here.


Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:59
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I still do Jul 19, 2009

I currently work with NGOs and other non-profit institutions and associations on a voluntary basis. This is totally pro bono in my case. Of course I give priority to paid assignments (I´m not Jesus), but I do try to do some voluntary work when possible and I enjoy it.


Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:59
Member (2008)
French to English
yes Jul 20, 2009

I do some international public health and human rights stuff. I just did a report recently for a children's aid group. It was the sort of thing that makes you say "I have to do something about this" as you read it - then of course I realized that by donating a good chunk of time pro bono, I actually was making a significant contribution, more than I could have afforded in cash. I have no problem doing this work for legitimate aid organizations, and the materials are often very interesting.


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:59
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Greenpeace Jul 20, 2009

Yes, I've translated for Greenpeace. No, I didn't get paid for it - I volunteered because it's a way of helping an organisation whose aims I support. I've offered to do the same for Amnesty International, but they say they don't use volunteers.


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:59
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
yes both paid and unpaid Jul 20, 2009

A couple of my clients give me regular work for non profits and international aid groups, and I actually just got a very interesting job lead for a non profit group that I hope works out. Paid assignments are always the priority, but I will do probono for groups I support, i e Amnesty.


Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:59
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
pro bono work Jul 25, 2009

For Greenpeace and for a student law journal.
Interestingly enough, the Law Journal was uncomfortable with my notification that the pro bono work would be reported as such on my taxes. You would think they would be familiar with the idea at least.icon_smile.gif


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Poll: Have you ever done a translation for a non-profit organization?

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