Translators without Borders responds to communications and language needs in humanitarian and development settings. This means providing vital information to people in need, in a language they can understand. We work with many talented, dedicated volunteer translators who help us to achieve our mission. This post presents one volunteer translator story out of many.
A volunteer translator story: Andrea Alvisi, one of our volunteers who has translated almost 15,000 words for non-profit organizations.
Q: What inspired you to volunteer for TWB?
A: When I approached TWB, I had already been selected by Amnesty International Italy as one of their official translators. I firmly believe that skilled linguists should devote part of their time to a good cause – I see volunteering my translation and interpreting services to charities and NGOs who cannot afford to do this at a fee as an integral part of my professional and personal development. TWB is probably one of the biggest names out there and it counts on thousands of translators all over the world in a wide variety of languages, which I find fascinating.
Q: How long have you been volunteering?
A: I joined the team a couple of years ago. So far I have translated over 14,000 words.
Q: How much time do you spend on doing translations for Translators without Borders?
A: I have a very busy life (don’t we all say that?), so unfortunately I cannot commit to very large jobs. However, I find I can easily fit their projects in my schedule and I usually sit down in the evening or at weekends to complete them. It would be very difficult for me to quantify the exact amount of time spent on each project, but I have to say the very generous deadlines don’t make it feel like a burden at all.
Q: Which language(s) do you translate from / into?
A: I translate from English into Italian.
Q: What types of texts have you translated?
A: When I started volunteering for TWB, I soon realised the majority of their assignments involve some technical jargon. Over the years, I have found myself translating reports of various technical natures pertaining to crisis management and corporate measures. For example, one assignment was to translate a letter to be sent out to various stakeholders for a high-profile football charity. I can honestly say every assignment is different and challenging in its own way.
Q: Have you learnt anything while translating for TWB?
A: Yes, a great deal. Most of the material I have tackled so far relates to the operations of the Red Cross and I have used the background information I gained through volunteering for TWB to apply for a volunteering interpreting position with the Red Cross itself. Volunteering as a translator for TWB also helps to keep your eyes peeled and see things through a different perspective. One of my assignments, for instance, made me think very hard about the difficulties faced by disabled football fans when they wish to take part in a match due the lack of suitable infrastructure in stadia. The world is your oyster, as they say, and it’s out there for you to discover. I feel TWB helps you to do so.
Do you want to join the TWB and create your own volunteer translator story? Sign up at the TWB website.
By Kate Murphy, translators without Borders volunteer
One thought on “A translator is never too busy to help when it comes to translation”
As a young translator in the mid-70s, I found my senior colleagues extremely helpful and courteous in dealing with knotty enquiries, even ringing me back within a quarter of an hour if they were too busy when I called – this was in the pre-web hinterland. So I have decided that, as a matter of policy, and within reason, I must make myself similarly available to colleagues who ask for help.