30 million words and counting


Between 2011 and January 2016, Translators without Borders delivered over 30 million translated words to humanitarian organizations. In 2015 alone, our translators delivered more than 7 million words through the Translators without Borders Workspace powered by ProZ.com, which is an average of almost 600 thousand words per month


The graph below shows that in the past four years we’ve had a steady growth of the number of translated words we’ve delivered, averaging around 550 thousand words per month.



By December 2015, we had 3,130 translators volunteering for TWB, which represents a 15.6% increase during the same period in 2014. Without the commitment of each of these skilled translators, TWB could not deliver the quantity and quality of service to other organizations and to communities around the world.

Delivering this volume of work is not without its challenges. A known problem is the imbalance between volunteer translator availability and the demand for the different language pairs. This means that some translators have few opportunities while others receive more requests than they can commit to.

Our top five volunteers donated over 6% of our total translation output with a combined delivery of 1.8 million words! These volunteers are Eric Ragu (486k words), Ishaklamia (436k words), Ashutosh Mitra (334k words), Raquel Bentué (324k words) and Carine Toucand (258k words).

TWB continuously evaluates the quality of our output, not just the quantity of translations. In 2016 we will place a strong focus on measuring the impact of our work.  For example, translating a short disease prevention poster into many Indian languages might not contribute to a high word count, but it does significantly increase access to important information and makes a valuable difference to the lives of the target audience.

Language pairs

In the last 12 months, our translators accepted volunteer assignments in 139 language pairs. The top language pair was English to French, which represents 24% of translations, followed by English to Spanish (19%), French to English (15%), Spanish to English (5%) and English to Portuguese (5%). Overall, the top three pairs represented 58% percent of the words delivered.


TWB strives to deliver translations in many languages, including hard to source languages of Africa and India. The current demand is strongest for European languages. For example, with our top language pair English to French, demand tends to be higher than our resources can deliver.

Partner non-profits

A record 215 humanitarian organizations requested our services in the last 12 months. This represents a 34% increase since the end 2014. Top partners during that period were Médicos Sin Fronteras de España (764K words), Wikipedia (539K words), Enda Europe (217K words), Acción contra el Hambre de España (193K words) and Smile Train (186K words). The combined words delivered to the top 5 non-profits amounted to 26.7% of the total.    

by Enrique Cavalitto

ProZ.com Program Manager
Former TWB board member.

[email protected]