Translators without Borders 2013 Access to Knowledge Awards
Thread poster: Translators Without Borders
Translators Without Borders  Identity Verified
Member (2011)
Jan 18, 2014

This has been a very big year for Translators without Borders. We reached over 14 million words translated through our Translators without Borders Workspace powered by ProZ.com, and made great progress with our 100 x 100 Wikimedia medical article project. We built our training and translation center in Kenya to translate more healthcare information into Swahili, and we began our crisis relief work in earnest.

All of this would not have been possible without the support of our donors, the commitment by our non-profit partners, or the dedication of our volunteers.

This week we announced the winners of our second annual Access to Knowledge Awards, honoring six individuals or organizations who exemplify the mission to translate for humanity. The award winners were chosen by the non-profit’s boards of directors and advisors.

The Right to Knowledge Award is given to an individual (or company contributor) who has made a difference through his or her ongoing commitment to translation of humanitarian information. This year the award was shared by two ProZ.com members:

  • Ashutosh Mitra, for his dedication to Translators without Borders and his leadership in the Wikipedia project. Ashutosh have single handedly pushed Hindi into one of TWB top languages and he is always ready and willing to help.

  • Eric Ragu, whose dedication to Translators without Borders has been unsurpassed. Translating nearly a quarter million words between English and French is an enormous accomplishment! Eric has made a big difference to TWB, our NGO partners and their beneficiaries.


Right to Knowledge Honorable Mentions were also given to two other members, for their enormous commitment to pro bono translations for our NGO partners.:
  • Jacek Sierakovski, who has contributed 140,000 words so far.

  • Vito Smolej, who has single handedly increased access to healthcare knowledge in Slovenian.


The Humanitarian Communicator Award specifically recognizes non-profits that understand the critical link between language/translation and access to critical knowledge. This year the award was given to the whole team working on the Wiki Project Med Foundation, including:
  • James Heilman MD, CCFP-EM, Clinical Faculty member of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, who is also the force behind the project on the Wikipedia side.

  • Ildikó Santana, volunteer translator and project manager, who handles the FairStart project and the mainstream target languages in the Wikipedia project.

  • James Langridge, volunteer project manager of most languages of India and the rest of Asia in the Wikipedia project.

This team embodies our vision and mission to provide everyone in the world with vital knowledge in their own language. The 100x100 Wikipedia project is our most successful in spreading knowledge, and we use it as an example as we build awareness of the need.

We wish we could recognize by name every single person who contributed to Translators without Borders in 2013—there are so very many people who make it work. And the real winners are the people who can better understand vital information because of the hard work of ALL our volunteers and support from ALL our donors. Thank you very much to everyone!

The Translators without Borders team


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:29
SITE FOUNDER
Congratulations! Jan 19, 2014

Congratulations to the award winners. You all have been leaders in showing how translators can make a difference.

We wish we could recognize by name every single person who contributed to Translators without Borders in 2013—there are so very many people who make it work.


Absolutely. When I check in on the projects underway, or the list of translators with number of words translated, I am struck by the sheer scale of the effort. I find it somewhat remarkable that there are so many qualified translators out there willing to give so generously of their time and talent to help those in need. (Not to mention Lori, Simon, Rebecca and the other people involved in Translators without Borders administration.) It makes me proud of our industry.


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Susana Magnani  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
CONGRATULATIONS! Jan 23, 2014

Congratulations to the winners and to the organization, for their amazing work. I have the intention of getting involved, but I always get caught up with something else. I will try and make it one of my New Year's resolutions.

In the meantime, I wish you all continued success... All the best!


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Remuneration Jan 23, 2014

Translators without Borders is a great organization. However, now that you have translated 14,000,000 words, do you think there is an opportunity to start charging charities a very small stipend (say .01 - .04 per word) for translation? After all, some charities do have funds to spend, so why should everything be free?



[Edited at 2014-01-23 16:25 GMT]


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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:29
French to English
Chapeau(x) ! Jan 24, 2014

Congratulations to the honorees! I've been involved with TWB for over a decade, and though the content can be grim indeed, it's always a pleasure. While my bread and butter are banks and corporations, with TWB I know I'm helping to distribute e.g. medicine rather than dividends. I only wish I could do nothing but their kind of work, but until the world economy turns on its head, I just don't see that happening.

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IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:29
Member (2005)
French to English
Gratuity runs so counter to the spirit of the age, and yet is necessary Jan 27, 2014

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

(...) do you think there is an opportunity to start charging charities a very small stipend (say .01 - .04 per word) for translation? (...) some charities do have funds to spend, so why should everything be free?



[Edited at 2014-01-23 16:25 GMT]


Aside from the tangible benefits of our work to the organisations we serve in this way, there are intangible benefits to the community as a whole, particularly the translation community. The fact of applying free of charge the same standards of excellence as one would to a fee-paying client is a good test of professionalism, as well as affording an insight into a different area of existence. Besides, the work is parcelled out in portions that are deliverable within usually generous deadlines, and thus don't systematically gnaw at volunteers' earnings.

If there is a case for charging a moderate fee to users, this could be to support the operating costs of the platform, and to provide honoraria for the people who man the platform and manage the projects - to all seeming a full-time job. And it should be borne in mind that the gratuity of our efforts was intended to free funds for the NGOs to deploy in the field.

Gratuity should not be jeopardised, and exceptions should be genuinely warrantable.

To conclude, congratulations to the winners, and a tribute to the people behind the scenes who make our efforts possible.

With kind regards,

Adam Warren, FRSA,
(IanDhu - 41189)

[Edited at 2014-01-27 12:54 GMT]


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Translators Without Borders  Identity Verified
Member (2011)
TOPIC STARTER
On charging for humanitarian translations Jan 27, 2014

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Translators without Borders is a great organization. However, now that you have translated 14,000,000 words, do you think there is an opportunity to start charging charities a very small stipend (say .01 - .04 per word) for translation? After all, some charities do have funds to spend, so why should everything be free?


Thanks Jeff,
We see it otherwise. The fact that over 14 million words were donated to humanitarian NGOs shown that this is a sustainable and scalable operation.

Charging for the translations would add a lot of complexity to an otherwise very clear operation. Some examples are:
  • If you use this money to pay the translators, then you are competing with agencies and at the same time promoting low rates.

  • If you get money and don't pass it to the translators, these service providers could, with good reason, feel cheated.

  • Some NGOs have resources for some translations, but other relevant documents would go untranslated, and this could have a negative impact on the humanitarian services rendered to those who are most in need.

  • Some humanitarian NGOs don't have a translation budget.

  • If you charge some translation requests and not others, then your service becomes arbitrary, or you need a set of rules and, a team to interpret them.

Regards,
Enrique Cavalitto


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I understand what you are saying. Mar 16, 2014

However, I get the sense that sometimes a lot of requests for translations are being made that are really not that essential simply because the service is free for them.

As TwB expands, it may become necessary to prioritize those documents that really need to be translated for genuine and immediate humanitarian and charitable purposes from those that would be just "nice to have", that "may" be needed or that no one will ever read.

Perhaps give the organization the option to donate an amount of their choosing to TwB after they have reached a certain translation threshold.


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