Where To Find Volunteer Translation Work

By Chiara Bellodi
In Getting Started
Dec 1st, 2013

Find Volunteer Translation Work: Translating For Global Voices

Guest post by Maria Chiara Bellodi

Looking for a job. Such an overused expression among us, fresh graduates. After completing my studies in Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling I started my research. It is, indeed, a compulsory step in everyone’s life and we all know how much energy and patience this task requires. Nowadays, professional competitiveness in the translation field is very high and I realised how now, much more than in the past, experience is important in order to enter the working world. Scrolling and scrolling through translation work providers, I even came across volunteer based companies who were requiring translators to have years of previous experience.

Where to Find Volunteer Translation Work

I therefore decided to collaborate with Global Voices, an international network of bloggers and journalists that report and summarize events from around the world. Freedom of expression is a fundamental concept for the online community and their aim consists of drawing attention to the most interesting international stories by providing links to texts, photos, podcasts, videos or other forms of free media. Global Voices co-operates with Project Lingua, whose goal is to spread the articles published on Global Voices. They also translate them to make them accessible to a wider audience.

Being part of such an extended project as Global Voices and cooperating with Project Lingua made me gain awareness of the translation world. It is very interesting seeing how collaborative skills and skills required for personal work are both essential in this process. The translator is supported by a team of other translators, editors and authors who are always available to help, although the major work is carried out by a single translator.
What is more, finding volunteer translation work and having it published online is a great way to enrich a curriculum of a young translator who normally lacks work experience. It is definitely a good start for a translator who wants to enter this market.

Becoming a translator for Global Voices was quite easy and quick. After filling in a form the translator candidate only needs to start a trial period of two months, where they need to translate a certain amount of articles. This aims to give everyone the opportunity to try as well as prevent a turnout of non-translators. Even if the entire project is based on volunteer work, professionalism is always required.

Together with the translators, a fundamental task is carried out by the editors, who work to avoid lack of accuracy from the translators, correcting possible mistakes in the articles and publishing them. Although editors are in charge of the text last check, it is highly recommended that the translator revise carefully his/her translation even before passing it over to an editor, to make sure everything is correct.

The task of the translators at Global Voices begins by personally selecting the article they wish to translate from the Global Voices Online website. Before choosing to translate an article, translators need to read the entire post to see if they are actually interested in the topic, and whether they have enough time to complete the task within the required deadlines. It is also very important to check whether the article has already been translated by other members, to avoid wasting the time and effort made by other translators.

Meeting deadlines is another very important aspect which cannot be ignored. Once chosen, an article must be translated within 72 hours. However, in the case of breaking news, the translation has to be completed within 24 hours after choosing the article, so if a translator could not finish his task on time, he must inform the other translators and find someone who can complete the article within the set time limit.

Furthermore, some basic knowledge of the blogging platform WordPress, the Content Management System used by Global Voices, is essential. After joining Global Voices’ virtual community, it is also required to sign up to the general discussion group, called the GV-Authors group, and to the mailing list which includes all the translators from the GV Project Lingua. In fact, as part of a community, efficient communication and exchange of information are key factors for the success of the project. Members gather only on a few occasions and they do not know each other personally. Yet from what I experienced, there is a good relationship in the community, based primarily on mutual support.

Have a look at the website of Global Voices and its Italian version where I take part too.




Maria Chiara Bellodi has Graduated in 2013 from the University of Essex, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling. You can find her LinkedIn profile here.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Maria Chiara Bellodi has Graduated in 2013 from the University of Essex, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling.

2 Responses to “Where To Find Volunteer Translation Work”

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