Our Volunteer Heroes are the engine that makes Translators without Borders run. We are a completely volunteer-run organization with a vast number of amazing people working together to make a difference. For this first issue of our newsletter, we have interviewed one of our Volunteer Heroes: Dominic Spurling, the Webmaster at TWB, a self-taught high-tech computer guy, who is in charge of the “mechanics and plumbing” of our site.
Q: If you were to write a brief wiki article about yourself, what facts and personal characteristics would you include?
A: I grew up in a small town outside London, in Berkhamsted, on quiet streets. I used to play tennis, ride my bike, play in the garden, and dig ponds. I guess that’s when I became interested in nature. During school years, I was into science, biology and chemistry and then, when technology and computers became available, I started paying more attention to technology, computers, and programming. My parents said I had to study something “serious” at college, so I decided to go for chemistry. Currently, and for a few years now, my work is mainly about making organizations more efficient and better communicated. I love collaborating with smart people on my team, and coming up with a lot of innovative ideas.
Q: What is your role at Translators without Borders?
A: I’m the Webmaster for the Translators without Borders’ website. I take care of the “mechanics and the plumbing”, the part you don’t get to see.
Q: What has motivated you to help Translators without Borders?
A: My mother (a TWB board member from Rubric.com) told me Translators without Borders was in need of a Webmaster, and I found out that I could use my skills to help.
Q: What is a day in your life like?
A: My day starts at 7.30 a.m., I have breakfast, and I cycle to work (I exercise at the same time, which is great), get to the office, solve the issues first, and then do the fun part – discussing with colleagues new features for the website. I finish work around 6 in the evening, wait for my wife to come home (who takes care of animals at a wildlife organization) and watch some TV. In our spare time, we go to the park near our home, and we also enjoy snowboarding and sailing.
Q: How do you squeeze in time for your volunteer tasks?
A: I always have my “tools” at hand, so maybe I squeeze in half an hour or a whole hour every weekday – possibly in my lunchtime. If the tasks take longer, I do them during weekends.
Q: What do you consider are the challenges ahead for your role and for Translators without Borders?
A: We have so many ideas and suggestions coming in to include in the website; it’s complex to coordinate them, assign priorities, use new technologies, but the learning process to actually get the system behind those ideas – to make them a reality – is great fun.
Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining a cause like Translators without Borders?
A: That it’s great – you can do it from your home and contribute to the world. The world is very connected but needs to be more connected, and that’s why it’s important to join a global cause like Translators without Borders.
Q: To what extent do your professional and personal goals come together with your volunteer work?
A: The skills I use for TWB and my work are the same, so that’s a great achievement.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about teamwork and personal relationships with other members of Translators without Borders?
A: We coordinate everything through e-mails and Skype. Rebecca has been very good at coordinating people and ideas, and Silvina is the designer. Rebecca and Silvina usually discuss a new section or a new feature of the website, along with other members of Translators without Borders, and then I take a look at those ideas, give my opinion and we move on to work.
Q: What do you feel is your greatest achievement within TWB and beyond TWB so far?
A: Well, the website itself.