TWB Community Survey Results 2020 are out!

In September 2020 we conducted a survey of our translator community. As a community, you told us that you are keen to work more with us. But you also told us that we need to improve our systems and become better at communicating with you. We’ve heard you, and we’re changing how we do some things.

As you read this blog please check out the interactive data visualizations here. Click the legend to display the survey data by geographic location or as a graph, and use the filter function to correlate age data by employment status or volunteer satisfaction. 

As we reviewed the survey results, we were overwhelmed by the passion, drive, and motivations of our diverse community of translators. Thank you for your dedication and skills. 

Here is some of what we learned: 

Our community is diverse

Half of the respondents are under the age of 34.  This suggests that we successfully recruit students and young professionals, but have room to grow with more experienced and retired linguists.  While respondents come from 150 countries, the majority reports living either in the US, the UK, or Nigeria.  Almost 30% of respondents report being part of a diaspora community which we are keen to involve more in our community efforts in the coming year. 

Our community is primarily motivated by helping others

25% of survey respondents indicate that their primary reason for volunteering with TWB is to help others and contribute to a good cause.  20% are motivated by working with a humanitarian organization.  33% of respondents indicate that gaining professional skills and learning new skills are key motivators for them. We are eager to understand in greater detail what skills community members want to acquire so we can offer relevant translation training opportunities in 2021.

Photo from Nigeria country office, July 2018.

Our community is highly satisfied with their experience

72% of volunteers reported that they are “likely” or “extremely likely” to recommend TWB to a colleague.  When asked what TWB could do to improve the experience, many requested more communication from TWB, specifically around what we do and the impact of our work. Some also mentioned better tutoring and onboarding of new community members into the system and processes, and instilling a better sense of community.  We have taken this feedback on board and we plan to increase our email communication and to add virtual meet-ups to share updates and hear from the community directly. 

Our community wants more content to translate

One theme that runs through almost all the comments is that community members want more content to translate.  “Find more tasks in my language pair” is the number one request community members have. 

2020 has been a challenging year for TWB; we saw spectacular growth not only in the community but also in the content that humanitarian organizations asked us to translate.  However, not all language pairs are in equal demand; at times there is a lack of content for language pairs where we have a very active community.  Since we want to make sure that all community members get a chance to translate, we will need to find a better balance between the volume of content we offer and the interest of the community.  This problem has no easy answer, but will demand some better planning and creativity at our end. 

Our community wants a better translation platform and tools

The feedback we received about the TWB translation environment clearly indicates that our platform is outdated and not very user-friendly. For the Kató Platform specifically, the feedback is that “The interface is difficult and confusing to navigate.” For Kató TM, our online CAT tool, the general feedback is that we need to provide more training. “Make things simpler,” “Make things more understandable,” and “Provide training” are frequently repeated comments.  We are reviewing our translation environment and will soon introduce changes that should alleviate some of the pain that especially new translators feel. These changes will be gradual but should address some of the feedback we received in the 2020 survey. 

We’re looking forward to being even better in 2021

The TWB community more than doubled in 2020. We attribute this growth mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which motivated many translators to combat the spread of the virus by translating COVID-related information. With your help we translated more than 5.5 million words of COVID-19 content. This is an outstanding community achievement that has positively impacted the lives of countless people.

But we know we can’t keep doing things the way we always have. 

We appreciate the time you took to respond to the survey and are grateful that you are helping us grow as an organization. Together we will give even more information to people in a language that they understand. We look forward to working with you in the new year.

Written by Manuela Noske, Community Manager for TWB.

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