Over 7 million words delivered!


After peaking in May and June, the activity in the Translators without Borders (TWB) Workspace – powered by ProZ.com – has stabilized at a still impressive level. The words processed between May and November averaged 502K words per month, a rate equivalent to 6 M words per year. This contrasts with previous averages of 236 K words in the 5 previous months and a monthly average of 202 K words during all of 2011.

Since January 2011 our volunteer translators have delivered 7.1 million words. During the last 12 months our workspace processed 4.70 million words and delivered 4.35 million words. Due to the time needed for the translations, the number of words delivered lags slightly behind the number of words processed.


The team of professionals approved by Translators without Borders reached 1600 by the end of November 2012, with a growth of 200 translators during the last 3 months. This growth and the stabilization of demand momentarily took off some pressure from our mainstream language pairs.

We still have excess capacity in English to Spanish, our most populated pair, while we have pressing needs in non-European languages, especially those used in Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Our top-five volunteers are: boulderwords, who has donated an amazing 123,812 words, followed by eric ragu (80,522 words), gail desautels (71,624 words), Edgar Marie-Hélène Cadieux (68,920 words) and Nellie K. Adaba (65,212 words).

Language pairs

During the last 12 months our translators accepted volunteer assignments in 84 language pairs. Top language pair was English to French, representing 20.7% of the operation. The next three pairs were French to English (18.8%), English to Spanish (8.2%) and Spanish to English (4.2%).

Overall the languages beyond the top four represented 48.1% of the total, up from 32.9% during 2011. This number is important because it shows the degree of ‘linguistic spread’ of the operation, as we strive to move beyond the main European languages to those used by the people most in need of translation help.

This ‘linguistic spread index’ looks better if you perform a month-by-month analysis. The next figure shows that the ‘rest of languages’ (green line) are growing faster than the top languages, and that they represented more processed words than the ‘top 4′ in June and in the last recorded months.


A total of 92 humanitarian organizations requested our services during the last 12 months.

At the top of the list is the Wikipedia project, launched this year with the Wikimedia Foundation to translate 80 critical medical Wikipedia articles into as many languages as possible. The project is currently active into 35 languages and in a first step we aim for 80 languages.

Next in line come Acción contra el Hambre from Spain and Action contre la Faim, two branches of the same humanitarian NGO dedicated to fighting hunger. Then comes Médecins Sans Frontières from Switzerland. MSF was Translators without Borders first humanitarian client and in the last 12 months we also received translations requests from their offices based in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, the UK, United Arab Emirates, France, Canada, Japan and Norway.

Enrique Cavalitto

[email protected]