TWB honors volunteers, donors and non-profit partners with first Access to Knowledge Awards

Global translation charity, Translators without Borders (TWB) announced the launch of its annual Translators withoutBorders Access to Knowledge Awards. The awards, honoring six individuals or organizations who exemplify the mission to translate for humanity, are chosen and given by the non-profit’s board of directors.

 

We have had an exceptional year of progress and success,” said Lori Thicke, president and founder of Translators without Borders. “Reaching 6.5 million words translated through our workspace, opening our first training center in Nairobi, working with Wikipedia on critical health information—none of this would be possible without the generous support of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers, and the commitment of our non-profit partners.”

The organization created the Access to Knowledge Awards to honor volunteers, donors, and non-profit partners. The awards are given within each of the Translators without Borders’ six ‘pillars’, identified earlier this year as part of the organization’s strategic framework. These pillars—Organizational Excellence, Translator Community and Workspace, Training, Nonprofit Partnerships, Financial Sustainability, Awareness and Communications—work together to deliver the mission.

The organization’s executive committee, the management body of board members and the program director, created criteria for each award. Board members and staff members were not eligible. Board members nominated recipients and the executive committee made final decisions on the winners. In addition to six winners, a number of honorable mentions were also awarded.

The Translators without Borders’ Access to Knowledge recipients will receive a Translators without Borders T-Shirt, a lapel pen and a certificate of gratitude.

I wish we could recognize by name every single person who has contributed to Translators without Borders this year –there are so very many people who make it work,” said Rebecca Petras, program director. “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 Excellence Award Awarded to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call-of-duty in helping Translators without Borders meet its mission.

Awarded to Henry Dotterer

Honorable Mentions:

• Anne-Marie Colliander-Lind
• Rocio Haskell
• Marla Schulman

The Right to Knowledge Award awarded to an individual (or company contributor) who has made a difference through his or her ongoing commitment to translation of humanitarian information.

Awarded to Ildikó Santana

Honorable Mentions:

• The Content Rules Editors
• Marcia Miner
• Ashutosh Mitra

The Empowerment Award awarded to an individual whose work has allowed us to significantly move the barometer in increasing language capacity within a critical region of the world.

Awarded to Dr. Iribe Mwangi

Honorable Mention:

• Common Sense Advisory

The Humanitarian Communicator Award awarded to a non-profit who understands the critical link between language/translation and access to critical knowledge.

Awarded to Médecins Sans Frontières (all regions)

Honorable mentions:

• The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust / Nand Wadhwani
• Wikimedia Foundation/James Heilman
• Zafèn / Griselda Garibay

The Donor Award awarded to the individual or company or foundation/trust that has made a significant financial contribution to aid TWB in meeting its mission.

Awarded to Lionbridge

Honorable Mentions:

• eLanex
• Rubric
• Text Partner

The Communicator of the Year awarded to the person who has creatively used marketing and public relations to build awareness of the organization and the need to provide content in the right language.

Awarded to Marina Sayfulina

Honorable Mentions:

• Dominic Spurling
• Chily Vico-Gimena
• Markus Meisl

How TextPartner Got On Their Bikes To Fund-a-Translator!

Translation vendor, TextPartner has raised $2,000 for Translator’s without Borders (TWB) Fund-a-Translator Program. TextPartner is the first organization to raise money for this exciting new TWB program.

The team at TextPartner cycled a total of 440kms from their branch office inKatowice,Polandto the recent ELIA conference inBudapest.

The journey took 4 days, through some of the most beautiful scenery inEurope.” Said Marek Gawrysiak, Cyclist and Operations Manager at TextPartner. “Through people sponsoring us, we raised $2,000 for TWB’s Fund-a-Translator Program. This is enough to sponsor two Kenyan Trainee translators. As well as raising money, we had a great time and hope to repeat this next year.”

TWB’s Fund-a-Translator Program is part of the TWB Healthcare Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya. The Program invests funds and resources in local professionals to train as translators, building local language and translation skill.

This bike ride was an awesome effort!” saidLori Thicke, President and co-founder of TWB, “The team at TextPartner did a great job and we now have the funds to start training 2 translators at the TWB center inNairobi. To train local translators, we need to maintain a physical location, hire local instructors and manage technology and Internet access for the trainees. This all needs funds and TextPartner has really kick-started the effort.”

Click here to see a slideshow from the bike ride!

For more information about the next TextPartner charity bike ride, simply visit: http://www.onourbikes.info/next/index.php

About TextPartner

TextPartner is a regional language vendor with two offices in Poland. The company was founded in 1997 to satisfy the specific demands of international agencies concerning their Polish language assignments. Since then, the company has unceasingly supported its clients in their endeavours to build the image they seek in all their translated, typeset and printed materials. To carry out this mission, TextPartner employs expert individuals who work in competency teams covering as many as seventeen areas of expertise. TextPartner is a member of the European Language Industry Association and is proud to support Translators without Borders. To contact TextPartner, email [email protected], call  +48 68 329 01 40 or visit www.textpartner.com

Our New Swahili Translators

In this issue we introduce two of our translator trainees from our new Healthcare Translators’ Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya. Our hard-working team in Kenya, led by Paul Warambo and Simon Andriesen, is translating vital health information and subtitling videos while also learning how to become professional translators. This is an important step in building a professional translation network in Swahili and beyond.

Matthias K. Kathuke

My name is Matthias K. Kathuke. I am 27. I was born and raised in Mananja village, Machakos County in Eastern province of Kenya, about 100km northeast of the capital Nairobi. I was also educated in the local primary and secondary schools and sadly, not much was expected of my education since the schools were low profile. For instance, my secondary school had never sent a student to university in over 40 years of its existence. Paradoxically, I was expected, especially by my father, to make it through with first-class performance. As destiny would have it, I did not disappoint, as I set a record by becoming the first ever to enter university from a village covering about 1000sq. km.

My family is naturally a huge credit for the victories I have achieved so far. My mother is an elementary school teacher, my father an ex-marine. This combination of parentage ‘resource’ has propelled me towards intellectual excellence and operative discipline from my mother and father respectively. Being the firstborn (of 4 sisters and 1 brother), I have had a lot of modeling to do because my siblings look up to me for emulation and inspiration. This has in turn compelled me to become a natural leader.

My family is almost dependent on my mother’s earnings (and now mine) since my father no longer has a formal income. Our eldest sister is volunteering in our local secondary school while the rest are still pursuing their education. Just for the record, we are a very warm team, so I always miss them when I am away (well, almost everyone with a loving family does!).

As implied earlier, I was educated at Mananja Primary and Secondary Schools (both public schools). I look back to those days and feel grateful for coming this far. The experience was scrappy as learning resources (including teachers) were insufficient, and the learning a little harsh for conducive learning. How did I make through? A combination of fortune and determination. So, I qualified for government sponsorship to the University of Nairobi where I pursued a degree in Education: Linguistics major and Literature minor. I graduated with Second Class Honors in 2009 and have been teaching since then until August 2012, when I committed my entire working time to TWB.

Before committing all my working hours to translation, I consulted with Simon Andriesen and Paul Warambo. The implication of my choice was made clear from the onset so that I would make an informed decision. Eventually, I did commit all my time to translation. Well, so far so good, though there is still much ground to cover.

I am motivated by 3 things on my journey to becoming a translator: my love of linguistics (my childhood dream), desire to serve humanity and (frankly) the need to make a living out of my efforts!

The second reason is more significant, which is inspired by two touching examples from Simon Andriesen and Sue Pearson (of Summer Institute of Linguistics). Sue narrates about a French-speaking mother in Chad who administers to her child a drug meant to induce production of breast milk on her dry breasts; while Simon tells of a mother who stops giving her sick child water since it would immediately come out through the other end. Sadly in both cases, the children end up dying, not because of lack of doctors or treatment, but lack of (correct) medical information. Paul Warambo’s story almost sends me to tears when he narrates how his kid sister was to undergo an unsafe abortion – an exercise that would have denied Paul an opportunity to have a brilliant nephew (Levis Otieno). I came to interact with these moving stories during our translation training that was facilitated by Simon and Paul (these two gentlemen, truth be told, make up a perfect team for TWB).

I am in total agreement with the philosophy of Translators without Borders: that never again should people die of lack of information whilst there is something we could do to avert the situation. I therefore would love to become a professional translator in order to help avail information to the average, less privileged population, which cannot access important medical information because it is encoded in a foreign language (quite literally).

The process of becoming a translator is very demanding – I have found it more mentally exhausting than teaching, especially at the initial stages.

Besides, translation is a new profession in Africa, which is both a merit and a demerit in that we reserve exclusive skills, but also the market does not recognize the need for translators as professionals. Companies may not easily embrace the idea of hiring a professional translator whilst a lay person would take up the job. (And did I just overhear Simon say that translation doesn’t make millionaires?)

I hope to run a non-profit translation agency to serve my village with information on the key aspects of society namely health, education, law and agriculture. I would like to translate the available information from English to Swahili and vernacular. I would also link with other like-minded individuals to run a network of similar agencies so as to avail the same information in diverse vernaculars in Kenya and hopefully East Africa.

I am a soccer fan, specifically FC Barcelona much more because of their philosophy than the football. They train their players from a young age to become humble, respectful and able to function more as a team despite their individual talent. I also love music: I play the guitar, participate and watch live concerts and dash to the studio occasionally to record.

Appreciation:
It would be an almost unforgivable sin not to express my sincere gratitude to Translators without Borders for the opportunity to become a health translator. I thank the TWB board members for coming up with this great idea. I whole heartedly thank Simon Andriesen for his insightful lectures during our training. I must also thank Paul Warambo for giving us instructions with his Swahili knowledge – Paul is always with us, guiding us and helping us with Swahili terminologies and grammar. Indeed we don’t know what we would do without Paul and Simon in this training. Thanks a million!

Anne Njeri Mwangi

My name is Anne Njeri Mwangi, aged 38 years, born and brought up in Kenya in a town called Nyeri and working in the capital city, Nairobi.

I am the fourth born in a family of seven siblings: five girls and two boys. All my siblings are adults with families; my parents are alive and well. I am married to Simon, and we have a lovely son, Victor, who is 11 years old.

I received my primary and secondary education from the nearby schools in the village. After secondary school, I joined medical training college in Mombasa where I pursued a diploma in community health nursing for 3½ years (1993-1997). Later, I pursued a course in reproductive health for six months in 2007. In 2011/2012, I went back to Kenya Medical Training College in Nairobi and pursued a Higher National Diploma in Health Education and Promotion, which I completed in July this year.

After qualifying in 1997, I was employed by the government of Kenya and have worked as a Nursing Officer in various hospitals. In the course of that time, I have practiced offering curative services and came to realize that many of the patients I was attending to were suffering due to lack of information. I consequently felt the need to promote health by educating and giving the correct information to people, thus deciding to take a course in health education and promotion to get the relevant skills. Translators without Borders came in handy at a time when I had just completed my training and ripe for health promotion, and as a Health Promoter, I felt it would be quite prudent to give information in a language that is well understood by the majority in my country. Therefore when I got the chance to be part of the translators at the Translators without Borders Healthcare Translators’ Training Center, I totally embraced it because it is a positive engagement that would enable me to promote health through a language that the majority would understand.

In all these I wish to thank Simon Andriesen – the director of the Healthcare Translators’ Training Center for being available to give me the much needed translation skills. I would also like to thank Paul Warambo who has been our course instructor during the course; his incredible brilliance in Swahili language and translation skills has made us see the light in the field of translation. I also extend my gratitude to the translation team for their spirit of unity.

Being a translator will enable me to ensure that society receives information in a language that people understand best. I am glad to have become a translator, especially of healthcare materials, because I will be promoting health when people receive and understand information. Health promotion is my passion.
Becoming a translator requires a lot of dedication, determination and commitment. It’s hard to be a translator if one does not have these qualities.

Once I gain experience in translation which is currently from English to Swahili, I would like to move my translation skills into another level of translating the healthcare materials to my native language (Kikuyu) so that those who understand neither English nor Swahili may also get access to information.

My interests are traveling, walking and traversing social media.


If you would like to help support the effort to increase language capacity into Swahili and other critical languages, please consider sponsoring a translator this holiday season through our Fund-a-Translator program. Details by emailing [email protected]

 

Monica Oliveira, the “Resource Manager” for Translators without Borders – our Volunteer Hero of the month

For this third issue of our newsletter, we have interviewed Monica Oliveira, who is the volunteer “Resource Manager” for Translators without Borders.  One of her goals is to help Translators without Borders bring in more volunteer translators more quickly through a “Fast Track” process in which translators who are either certified ATA translators, Proz.com PROs or work with an LSP partner such as Lionbridge are automatically approved as TWB translators. Monica shares with us her inspirational thoughts, experiences and dreams as a hardworking mom, social communicator and a true believer in volunteer work.

 

1. If you were to write a brief wiki article about yourself, what facts and personal characteristics would you include?

I am Brazilian, originally from Rio. I hold a degree in Social Communication and I feel passionate about information diffusion. I developed my professional career as a journalist for many years in Brazil. Then, I became a political correspondent. I came to the United States for graduate school, and this is where I got married and had my two kids. Over time, I have moved to translation and localization. Currently, I am the Regional Director for the Americas with Lionbridge.

If you ask any of my friends for a word to describe me, that would be “hardworking”; I am always doing things, with my job, my family, my daughters’ school, and, of course, volunteer work. I am so used to work I do not feel it is hard work anymore!

2. What is your role at TWB?

Recruiting. I am the “Resource Manager” if we have to put a title to it. My task is to build the resource base and to expand it. Another goal is to set up a structure and workflow to make the recruiting process easier in the future.

3. What has motivated you to help TWB?

My passion for the diffusion of information. Let me tell you a story: When I was a journalist in Brazil, I embarked on a scientific expedition into the Amazon to write about the environment. When we arrived in a village, the public health doctors talked to the locals and found out that there were many cases of diarrhea and other water-related diseases. The doctors told them to put a spoon of bleach (chlorine) into the water – that is what large water companies in big cities basically do. It solved a lot of problems! So… such a tiny piece of information made a huge impact on their lives. Since then, I have started thinking about how something small – it might be something simple that many of us take for granted – can change the lives of many other people. When we think about Translators without Borders, this idea fits into place.

4. What is a day in your life like?

My day starts very early, at about five in the morning. I begin with the things I like and my volunteer work. I get my kids ready and take them to school. I work in my office – at home – until around three in the afternoon. I manage to pick up my daughter and have a lunch break. Technology really helps working moms like me! I have to take into account that part of my team is in Asia, and the possibility of working from home lets me hold meetings with them at odd hours due to different time zones.

5. How do you squeeze in time for your volunteer tasks?

I try to complete volunteer tasks early in the morning, or after my kids go to bed in the evening. Depending on the task, I might also devote some time during weekends if it takes longer or if I am too tired in the evenings during weekdays, and I need a fresh brain to do it!

6. What do you consider are the challenges ahead for your role and for TWB?

I think a big challenge is to be able to communicate the goodness; that is, what the job can do for other people; to convince volunteers that maybe two hours a month will not affect their routines very much but it will hugely impact other people’s lives. As we are a volunteer-based organization, we have to be able to attract volunteers and to keep them willing to volunteer their skills and time; to make them feel it is worth engaging in Translators without Borders.

7. What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining a cause like TWB?

I would say that you cannot believe how good it feels when you see the results, and in turn, that makes you feel good about yourself.

8. To what extent do your professional and personal goals come together with your volunteer work?

I have a great passion for the diffusion of information. I want to raise two good people – my kids – and I want to help people raise good people. We need to care, and it is like snowballs: you do it with your kids and it spreads.

9. Could you tell us a bit about teamwork and personal relationships with other members of TWB?

At first, I mainly worked with Lori, but then I also started working more with Rebecca, Enrique and Serena. Most of our work is through virtual interaction, so we have never met face-to-face yet (except with Lori at a conference!)

10. What do you feel is your greatest achievement within TWB and beyond TWB so far and what is your biggest dream in life?

I am very committed to the cause, but I cannot say I have seen any great achievements in regards to my task of bringing in new resources since I only joined a year ago, and results are coming slower than I would like… we can definitely say the best is yet to come.

One of my biggest dreams is to raise two good people, who care and who are committed to good things. My other great dream is to have time to be a writer.

Target shooting…

In paper: Any book, especially a book by Gabriel García Márquez

On the web: Facebook! To interact with my relatives back in Brazil

Open-air activity: Hiking

With friends: Eating

Family gathering: Thanksgiving

Blog AuthorBy Lorena Baudo, Translators without Borders volunteer

Poland to Budapest for Fund-a-Translator

Translators without Border’s Fund-a-Translator program is a new scheme to further help train local people in Kenya to become professional translators.

The team of Lucjan Szreter and Marek Gawrysiak from TextPartner cycled 288 km from Poland to Budapest to help raise money for the Fund-a-Translator Program.

 

They raised $700 on Day 1 of the great ride from Poland to Hungary!

Read more here.

Volunteer hero: Anne-Marie Colliander Lind

For this second issue of our newsletter, we have interviewed one of our volunteer heroines: Anne-Marie Colliander Lind, who helps to raise the money that makes Translators without Borders go round

Q: If you were to write a brief wiki article about yourself, what facts and personal characteristics would you include?

A: I was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, and I’ve spent most of my summers in Spain. Horseback riding was my first true passion and I’ve competed successfully in show jumping until only a few years ago. Since I was little, my dream was to be bilingual, so maybe that is why I accidentally ended up in the translation industry. I have no qualification or experience as a translator, but I have been involved in the translation industry as a businesswoman since 1989. I am an optimistic, outgoing person; I see opportunities rather than challenges.

Q: What is your role at Translators without Borders?

A: My role is to raise funds by bringing more corporate sponsors to the organization. Translators without Borders has grown as an organization and has all elements well in place, however it does need more financial contributions to get to the next level – to reach out to more NGOs.

Q: What has motivated you to help Translators without Borders?

A: Well, I heard about Translators without Borders some ten years ago and charity has always been present in my family, if even on a small scale. As I’m not qualified to be a volunteer translator, I’m happy I could take another role in supporting the cause.

Q: What is a day in your life like?

A: I am an independent business consultant so I travel a lot to meet clients onsite, which gives me the chance to visit new places and countries. It might be that one week I have to travel to Poland, and then I have to go to Spain. In contrast to my travelling I work a lot from home, which is good, since I am then really close to my family.When I work from home, most of my interactions are over the phone, Skype and via e-mail.

Q: How do you squeeze in time for your volunteer tasks?

A: It comes very naturally, for example, in conversations and interactions during industry conferences. I’m very proud of being a representative of Translators without Borders, so it’s easy for me to share my enthusiasm. Then I normally take a few hours a week to do some more active reach-outs.

Q: What do you consider are the challenges ahead for your role and for Translators without Borders?

A: The challenge is sustaining the contribution levels. It is one thing to convince a company to help our worthy cause, but it is harder to convince them to continue. For that reason, we need to share the good work that we do, so that donors are confident that we are making good use of the money. Another challenge is to make sure that we reach as many NGOs as possible with our free translations.  Finally, Translators without Borders will eventually require some professional management and this requires funds. An all-volunteer global organization is not sustainable in the long run, in my opinion.

Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining a cause like Translators without Borders?

A: Much has been said about the translation industry being immature. But, for me, the fact that the industry has a charity organization is a sign of maturity. It is the right thing to give something back to the same industry that feeds you. Language is a necessity and it is also a human right – the right to communicate and the right to understand. It’s easier to support a cause that you are passionate about, in our case: languages and translation.

Q: To what extent do your professional and personal goals come together with your volunteer work?

A: They go well hand in hand; I feel passionate about the translation and interpretation industry – it’s what I do for a living – so it comes natural for me to help the organization.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about teamwork and personal relationships with other members of Translators without Borders?

A: To start with, talking to Lori [Translators without Borders founder, Lori Thicke] is a power of injection; she always has good feedback to offer to you and your tasks. She is also warm and thankful and our interactions are always very enriching. In addition to that, I work with Rebecca Petras, Ulrich Henes, Markus Meisl, Françoise Henderson and many others. And, at every new conference, I get to know new people engaged in Translators without Borders from whom I learn a lot. It’s a very enthusiastic and engaged team!

Q: What do you feel is your greatest achievement within Translators without Borders and beyond Translators without Borders so far and what is your biggest dream in life?

A: I’m very proud of having brought many corporate sponsors to Translators without Borders only by sharing my own passion for the cause. And they are equally proud of supporting us! I try to make as many personal contacts as possible, and manage to make them support Translators without Borders through annual donations, since this is one of the things Translators without Borders needs right now. And sponsors take a lot of pride in that; you can see it in conferences, when meeting in person, at their websites and with their testimonials.

Becoming a mother is my biggest personal achievement in life and therefore my biggest dream is to see my two daughters grow up and become responsible, successful and happy individuals. I also hope to be healthy enough to travel, once I retire, for pleasure and to see for myself the result of different charity activities. But I guess I’ll have to work hard for a few more years first…

Target shooting…

In paper: Any book is good for me

On the web: Twitter

Open-air activity: downhill skiing, horseback riding

With friends: cooking, wining and dining

Family gathering: Swedish mid-summer festivities

Subtitles for Mothers in India from Translators without Borders

Translators without Borders volunteer Leandro Reis is leading a project to subtitle health films into over a dozen Indian languages including Telugu, Gujarati and Kannada. These films, created by the Mother and Child Health and Education Trust, will encourage hospitals and community health workers to teach new mothers about breastfeeding their babies.

His subtitling work is being carried out on the dotSUB.com platform.

Why is this so important? Because each day 11,000 babies die in the developing world from preventable causes. Of those who die, 22 percent could survive if their mothers had better knowledge about breastfeeding.

Thanks to the volunteers you see here, and many others, Translators without Borders is working to ensure that in the future, mothers in India will know how to keep their babies healthy. Read more here.

Helping Haitians Rebuild

Raising funds to finance deserving projects is something every non-profit must master, and the challenge is exponential when your donors are global. That was the issue Zafènencountered when it launched in 2010. But it wasn’t a conundrum this online Haitian micro-credit program faced for long. Translators without Borders volunteered to translate project descriptions from English into French and Spanish, vastly expanding the number of people who might be inspired to support them.

TWB translators have worked on more than 50 documents that we were able to share with generous people around the world seeking to empower Haitians,” said Griselda Garibay,Vincentian Family administrator for Zafèn. “And they did it all for free, which is a price non-profits can afford!

Garibay said Translators without Borders’ work was especially valuable because the top three languages spoken by Zafèn’s Facebook users are English, French and Spanish. Furthermore, the Haitian Diaspora is active in funding projects, and many Haitians speak French. In sum, TWB has helped Zafèn successfully promote 26 individual projects in three languages that raised more than $500,000 in just seven months.

A recent project translated by Translators without Borders raised money to enroll Haitian families living in extreme poverty in a proven program that enables them to change the course of their lives. Selected families receive construction materials to build a house with a sturdy roof and a floor. They also build a separate latrine, gain access to free healthcare, a water filter and receive weekly visits from a case manager, who reinforces what they have learned to ensure progress along the path to prosperity. Translators without Borders’ translations helped fund a better life for about 1,000 Haitian parents and children as they work toward a fresh start in the New Year.

Translators without Borders Translator Heros: Marcia Miner

French to English American translator, Marcia Miner is one of the skilled translators who volunteer their time for Translators without Borders. In 2011, Marcia completed 41 projects, totaling 64,228 words donated to NGOs, making her the lead translator with Translator without Borders for the year.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.

A: I’m from Glen Ridge, New Jersey, am fluent in French, and began my translation career as a bilingual secretary at Peugeot’s American headquarters when the French company was exporting cars to the States. My specialty fields are medical, children’s education, the environment, arts and literature.

Q: Why do you work with Translators without Borders?

A: After the Haitian earthquake, I responded to TWB’s appeal for translators and was accepted.  If anything I do can help in some small way to ease the burden on doctors, nurses, teachers, and administrators who are fighting to improve the lives of children and adults around the world suffering under unacceptable conditions, as well as preserve the environment, then I’m glad to do it.

Q: Any particular project / experience with Translators without Borders that you’ll never forget?

A: I especially enjoyed translating a pediatrics/nutrition exam for Doctors without Borders to help train nurses in Kenya.

Q: As a “translator without borders” with such a high count of translated words, what challenges did you encounter (or still do)?

A: I work without translation memory software, and could be much more productive with it.

Q: What do you think of the Translators without Borders Translation Center?

A: The Translation Center runs smoothly and the deadlines are manageable.  It’s easy and reliable for me to send and receive documents.  The administrators are very cordial and polite.

Q: How is the contact with client NGOs via the Translation Center so far? 

A: Contact with client NGOs via the center has been fine.

Q: When you are not translating for TWB, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A: Raising our puppy and collecting dolls and antiques!

One of our Heroic Volunteers: Dominic Spurling

Our Volunteer Heroes are the engine that makes Translators without Borders run. We are a completely volunteer-run organization with a vast number of amazing people working together to make a difference. For this first issue of our newsletter, we have interviewed one of our Volunteer Heroes: Dominic Spurling, the Webmaster at TWB, a self-taught high-tech computer guy, who is in charge of the “mechanics and plumbing” of our site.

Q: If you were to write a brief wiki article about yourself, what facts and personal characteristics would you include?

A:  I grew up in a small town outside London, in Berkhamsted, on quiet streets. I used to play tennis, ride my bike, play in the garden, and dig ponds. I guess that’s when I became interested in nature. During school years, I was into science, biology and chemistry and then, when technology and computers became available, I started paying more attention to technology, computers, and programming. My parents said I had to study something “serious” at college, so I decided to go for chemistry. Currently, and for a few years now, my work is mainly about making organizations more efficient and better communicated. I love collaborating with smart people on my team, and coming up with a lot of innovative ideas.

Q: What is your role at Translators without Borders?

A:  I’m the Webmaster for the Translators without Borders’ website. I take care of the “mechanics and the plumbing”, the part you don’t get to see.

Q: What has motivated you to help Translators without Borders?

A:  My mother (a TWB board member from Rubric.com) told me Translators without Borders was in need of a Webmaster, and I found out that I could use my skills to help.

Q: What is a day in your life like?

A:  My day starts at 7.30 a.m., I have breakfast, and I cycle to work (I exercise at the same time, which is great), get to the office, solve the issues first, and then do the fun part – discussing with colleagues new features for the website.  I finish work around 6 in the evening, wait for my wife to come home (who takes care of animals at a wildlife organization) and watch some TV. In our spare time, we go to the park near our home, and we also enjoy snowboarding and sailing.

Q: How do you squeeze in time for your volunteer tasks?

A:  I always have my “tools” at hand, so maybe I squeeze in half an hour or a whole hour every weekday – possibly in my lunchtime.  If the tasks take longer, I do them during weekends.

Q: What do you consider are the challenges ahead for your role and for Translators without Borders?

A:  We have so many ideas and suggestions coming in to include in the website; it’s complex to coordinate them, assign priorities, use new technologies, but the learning process to actually get the system behind those ideas – to make them a reality – is great fun.

Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining a cause like Translators without Borders?

A:  That it’s great – you can do it from your home and contribute to the world. The world is very connected but needs to be more connected, and that’s why it’s important to join a global cause like Translators without Borders.

Q: To what extent do your professional and personal goals come together with your volunteer work?

A:  The skills I use for TWB and my work are the same, so that’s a great achievement.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about teamwork and personal relationships with other members of Translators without Borders?

A:  We coordinate everything through e-mails and Skype. Rebecca has been very good at coordinating people and ideas, and Silvina is the designer. Rebecca and Silvina usually discuss a new section or a new feature of the website, along with other members of Translators without Borders, and then I take a look at those ideas, give my opinion and we move on to work.

Q: What do you feel is your greatest achievement within TWB and beyond TWB so far?

A:  Well, the website itself.