Living in London, raising four children and working as an English to French freelance translator can get super busy! I have always been highly aware that there are people on this earth who are in desperate need of help, so I am determined to contribute as a volunteer even if my personal and work commitments can be demanding. Having translated over six hundred thousand words for Translators without Borders in my spare time, I have picked up a few techniques to successful volunteering while juggling a busy schedule.
Here are my 5 top tips:
1. Consider your skills. When I realized that speaking two languages fluently could help other people improve their health and quality of life, I knew that volunteering as a translator was the most valuable skill I could offer.
2. Plan ahead. I plan my week so that I frequently have a few hours free for volunteer tasks. Setting aside an allocated time, helps volunteering become a routine as any other part of my schedule.
3. Think of this as a learning opportunity. I usually translate medical, health, and IT focused texts, as I have a lot of experience of this from my work as a freelance translator. However, translating for a non-profit can be very different, making it an opportunity to learn and to develop your skills as a translator in thematic areas that are new to you.
4. Remember your motivation. Helping others has been my dream from a young age. Volunteering helps me to do that. Keep your motivation fresh in your mind, and you will always have time for volunteering.
5. Prioritize your commitment to volunteering. Volunteering for me is as important a part of my life as earning money or taking care of my family. We all manage to find time to watch a film or to play a game. If being a volunteer is important to you, then put it high on your list of priorities.
To sign up as a volunteer with Translators without Borders, click here.
By Lamia Ishak, Translators without Borders volunteer translator Lamia has been a TWB volunteer since 2013, and in that time, she has translated over 600,000 words for non-profit organizations.