Our first-ever Translate-a-Thon

Established in 2004 by three Hungarian language technologists, Kilgray is the world’s fastest growing translation technology vendor. Its software has been designed by translators for translators – which means it knows exactly what they need.

Today, the company, which is working collaboratively with Translators without Borders (TWB), has eight offices in seven countries – Hungary, the United States, Germany, France, UK, Portugal and Poland. Its staff brings decades of experience from the design and marketing of other translation tools.

Kilgray CEO István Lengyel explains that “We believe that language service providers can only introduce technology that translators also enjoy using, and that enterprises can only be satisfied users of technologies that address the needs of language service providers and freelance translators alike.

“We’ve always had contacts with TWB and had long wanted to move towards greater collaboration. Our original aim was to create a charity project to help people and support the message of our memoQ Server product, which is capable of handling huge collaborative translation projects. We set up an event at two of the industry’s biggest events, the 54th Annual Conference of ATA in San Antonio, Texas, and tekom’s tcworld in Wiesbaden, Germany, being held simultaneously. Our plan was to set up desks for translators from which they could contribute to the charity project together with online contributors.

“We contacted TWB about this and quickly agreed to work together. TWB contacted the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and we chose to support a project about disaster risk reduction for them. We subsequently created the www.donatetranslations.com website and started promoting this via PR, social media and the memoQ userbase.

“The project, the ‘TWB/Kilgray-memoQ DisasterRisk Reduction Translate-a-Thon’, took place during and after those two conferences in early November and it was a huge success! We expected 100 volunteers to join in but the number of participants reached almost 200 by the end. We hadn’t anticipated the volume of words translated either, so the result (154,386 words in total!) really astonished us! Parts of the document were translated into 19 languages and the full document appeared in four languages (Spanish, Italian, French and Hungarian). We were rather surprised that so few people came to our booths at the conferences but this was because most people were contributing online.

“Helping people is what we enjoy most about our work – it’s an aim we all understand and support.  Kilgray staff devoted a lot of effort into setting up the website, organizing communications, organizing and managing the translation project. As we wrote in the thank you email sent to all participants: Even if only one life is saved because of your efforts, we all think it was worth it!”

Sarah Powell