By Enrique Cavalitto
Since 2011 Translators without Borders (TWB) has translated more than 40 million words for humanitarian and development organizations, a significant achievement for a small non-profit. In 2016 TWB achieved a new record, with dedicated translators providing more than 10 million words in just 12 months, through the Translators without Borders Workspace powered by ProZ.com. Here is an insight into what that actually means.
The graph below presents, the total delivered words for each month in 2016. After breaking all previous records with 1.2 million words translated in the month of May, December figures were even stronger with 1.33 million words delivered. The 2016 average shows a steady growth from 563K in words in January to 927K words at the end of the year.
A Five-Year Perspective
It is interesting to look at an extended view over 5 years to better appreciate the enormous growth experienced over time as a result of the contributions of our committed volunteers.
By December 2016, TWB was working with 3,800 volunteer translators, a 21% increase from one-year prior. Without the commitment of these translators, our achievements would not have been possible. Five ‘super’ volunteers, donated more than 6 percent of our total translation output with a combined delivery of 2.4 million words between them! These volunteers are Eric Ragu (702k words), Ishaklamia (604k words), Chris Hall (420K words), Ashutosh Mitra (351k words) and Raquel Bentué (348k words).
Over the past 12 months, our translators accepted volunteer assignments in 122 language pairs (compared to 139 in 2015). English to French continues to be the largest combination with 26 percent of translations, followed by English to Spanish (14%), French to English (10%), English to Arabic (6.6%) and Spanish to English (4.6%). Overall, the top three language pairs represented 50 percent of the words delivered.
A record 228 humanitarian organizations requested the services of TWB in 2016. Some of the larger pieces of work were in collaboration with Wikipedia, Médicos Sin Fronteras de España, American Red Cross and the International Network of Street Papers. The combined words delivered to these top 5 organizations accounted for 35 percent of the total.
Providing 10 million translated words in one year for non-profit partners was a proud achievement for TWB. This represented partnership with over 200 humanitarian organizations, but what is really impressive is the content that translators are working on. From training material for community health care workers to guidance for traumatized refugees; and from nutrition information for small babies to security instructions for people living in conflict zones, TWB volunteers have worked on some truly impactful projects.
Over five years ago, TWB, with the generous support of ProZ.com, created the first-ever translation workspace dedicated to our vision: A world where knowledge knows no language barriers. Today, over 40 million words later, we are working hard to ensure that the translations we deliver have a positive impact on the lives of people; that the service we offer to non-profit partners is professional; and that translators we work with are proud to be part of TWB. Over the past months we have been introducing improvements to the TWB translation interface for our partners, offering expanded and tailored language and communications solutions, ensuring top quality translations of life-saving information, and adding technologies that increase efficiency and improve access to vital information. We are also working on our translator incentive program, soon to be delivered, because we believe in the importance of showing our volunteers appreciation for making it possible to achieve over and above what we thought would be possible five years ago.
Here is to topping targets again in 2017 and reaching more people with more vital information in the right languages.