Notes from Translators without Borders Workspace

Two tracks for the Wikipedia project

The Wikipedia project has already delivered 183 translations of health care articles into 25 languages, and 113 of these articles are already live in their local versions of Wikipedia, with very strong contributions in languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Persian and Tagalog, to name just a few.

In order to streamline this project, languages have been divided into two tracks. The day-to-day management of the languages in full roll-out has been entrusted to a new translation coordinator, volunteer Ildikó Santana, current language lead of the Wikipedia translation into Hungarian.

A second track for languages with partial roll-out will focus on adding new languages to the project. Volunteers are more than welcome, especially in languages of Africa and Asia.

The fast-track path into Translators without Borders

Volunteer translators form the very core of Translators without Borders. They donate their time, efforts and expertise to help doctors, nurses and other volunteers working in humanitarian organizations to make the world a better place.

Since translations related to humanitarian emergencies leave no time for reviews or mistakes, there is a strict procedure in place to ensure that all members of our team are experienced and solid translators, able to do it right the first time. Applications from potential volunteers are reviewed and, if approved, a sample translation is requested and then evaluated by at least two editors before a new translator is welcomed onto the team.

There is a second way, called the fast track, opened back in early 2011 when Translators without Borders was contacted by the organization GoodPlanet with the request of translating their new website into as many languages as possible. Since at that time the pool of volunteers was concentrated in the pairs of English to and from French, a decision was made to contact members of’s Certified PRO Network.

With over 3,400 members, the Certified PRO Network is an initiative of the community to provide qualified translators and translation companies with an opportunity to network and collaborate in an environment consisting entirely of screened professionals.

To enter the Certified PRO Network, members must complete an online application and submit it for review to prove they meet or exceed minimum professional standards based on the EN15038 standard for quality in translation and in three screening areas: translation ability, business reliability and online citizenship.

Since the screening of translation ability is essentially the same in both programs (and in both cases done on a platform powered by, a fast track was created whereby any translator who is part of the Certified PRO Network is automatically accepted as a Translator without Borders without the need of any further testing.

The fast track proved very powerful, and currently some 40% of the professionals approved by Translators without Borders were accepted because of their Certified PRO Network status.

The experience led to the decision to extend this approach to other industry certifications that involve active testing of translation abilities. In particular, the fast track benefits are also available to all ATA-certified translators—an opportunity that we would like to advertise better. We are working on identifying similar certification programs and announcing those fast track opportunities to potential volunteers.

There is good room for growth here. Feedback and advice will be very welcome.

Announce your contributions in your project history

There is nothing wrong in getting some good promotion for your generous contributions to Translators without Borders. If you have a profile, you can enter your contributions as part of your project history.

Once there, you should provide a short description of the project, indicate the language pair, field of expertise, date completed, volume in words translated and optionally a public comment. Then identify Translators without Borders as the client by entering User ID = 1352791, select the option to “submit to the outsourcer for corroboration and feedback” and click on “Submit.”

Translators without Borders will verify the data and corroborate your claim, and this will look good in your profile when it is visited by a potential client.

Enrique Cavalitto