Translators without Borders (TWB) recently carried out a survey of our translator community. The survey received 168 responses, and it gave some valuable insights into the experiences of volunteer translators and what motivates them as a community.
We have highlighted here five of the most interesting findings from the survey.
1. our translators are mostly motivated by helping others.
An overwhelming majority (97%) of translators said they volunteer because they like helping others and contributing to a good cause.
While career development, increased professional visibility, and interesting projects were also mentioned as some of the benefits of volunteering with TWB, our volunteer community is primarily driven by the desire to help people in need and work for humanitarian causes.
“Recognition is always nice. However, I really don’t need any more incentives. I’m motivated by something which has nothing to do with rewards.”
2. our translators are embracing technology.
Nearly 40% of respondents have had the opportunity to work on Kató, the new and improved TWB translation platform that enables online collaboration and allows translators to use translation memory and glossary tools.
Most of our translators are familiar with Computer-Assisted Translation tools and use them in their work. This has produced some discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of translation technology.
According to our translators, the top advantages of doing work on an online platform are:
- better quality and consistency
- easier collaboration and sharing
- the use of translation memory and glossaries
- better translation workflow
Some of the downsides include translators’ preference to use their own tools while working, specific technical requirements (such as using a particular browser for translation), and the need to have online connectivity to do work.
Generally TWB translators are open to trying new tools and approaches in their work and have also been very generous with providing suggestions and feedback on these tools.
3. our translators are open to collaboration on projects.
Translation is often seen as a solitary endeavor, although modern technology may be changing that. In fact, many of our volunteers expressed interest in online collaboration, citing the following reasons as the top advantages of working together as translators:
4. TWB volunteers care DEEPLY about translation quality.
Many of the responses from our translators focused on ensuring good translation quality, whether through proofreading, feedback, or consistency checks.
This shows that our translators care a lot about the quality of their work and are proactively looking to improve it. In fact, over half of our translators said that receiving translation feedback and corrections from colleagues is important to them.
We recognize that comments from colleagues are particularly valuable to translators. Not only can this be a good source of specific, positive feedback (“Please keep doing what you’re doing, it’s great!”), but it also provides opportunities for growth and improvement (“Here is what you can do even better”).
We are looking for ways to provide regular feedback to our translators and will be sure to incorporate the suggestions of our volunteers about quality and collaboration into our new initiatives.
5. We heard your feedback!
Many of our translators said they appreciate recognition for their work, be it a word of thanks from the partners, visibility of how their translations are benefiting others, or, occasionally, acknowledgment in the form of recommendations or endorsements.
Recognizing this, we encourage our non-profit partners to leave feedback for translators as much as possible, and we are also looking for other ways to recognize the efforts of our volunteer translators, such as through translator appreciation initiatives and by featuring translators in our Volunteer Profiles on the TWB website.
We will continue using the feedback from this survey as we develop our translator community initiatives. It is important to us that our translators feel engaged and appreciated, and that they see Translators without Borders as a source of meaningful, interesting work.
Please stay tuned for more updates about our volunteer translator community. If you are a translator, we would encourage you to join our TWB Translator Volunteers Facebook private group, and if you would like to give us specific feedback or ask a question, you can always write to [email protected].
Until next time!
By Marina Khonina, Translation Quality and Community Manager