The call came in on Giving Tuesday. It was from Henry Dotterer, the founder of ProZ.com. “We have to do more to support Translators without Borders.”
I was taken aback. After all ProZ has contributed over the last two years, he felt they needed to do more?
That week Henry matched every dollar that was donated to Translators without Borders in order to keep our programs going. As the pledges came in, I couldn’t help but marvel that he had felt ProZ hadn’t been helping enough, because I don’t believe we would have accomplished as much as we have today – 9 million words donated to global aid efforts – if it were not for the support we’ve been receiving from Henry and his team since the beginning of 2011.
It all started with the Haiti earthquake of a year earlier. The outpouring of support from translators around the globe showed me how many good people wanted to use their skills for a worthy cause. But it was clear that one project manager (in my office in Paris) couldn’t work quickly enough to match all those volunteers with the non-profits that needed their help.
My first step to ramp up our efforts was to recruit a Board of Directors to help guide this transition. Henry was one of the first to answer the call.
We met at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris in January 2011, during a ProZ Pow Wow. The day was pure magic, with a rare snowfall covering the city below; as the snow grew thicker they closed the Eiffel Tower, stranding us lucky souls in a warm conference room at the top.
I explained to Henry that our biggest problem was to be more efficient about connecting volunteers with projects. Henry instantly donated the time of his programmers to adapt their current job board for our use. And he assigned his General Manager in Argentina, Enrique Cavalitto, to oversee the project.
From that moment until today, Enrique has personally overseen every one of the – as of this writing – 9,481,332 words that our amazing volunteer translators have donated to the non-profits that are changing the world.
As if this wasn’t enough, when Translators without Borders created a Translator Training Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, ProZ was there again, offering full ProZ memberships to some of the translators in our group.
And now, as we are trying to bring our training course to other under-resourced countries, ProZ trainer Soledad Azcona has volunteered her services.
Once upon a time, Henry Dotterer was a translator who envisioned a worldwide community of translators. That community became ProZ.com. Today Henry and the ProZ community are helping Translators without Borders to realize the vision of a community of humanitarian translators using their skills to take down language barriers around the world.
I just wanted to say thanks for the help.