Recently Translators without Borders launched a drive to raise funds.

Some people might be wondering, why do we need money to give away translations for free?

Translators without Borders exists because hundreds of translators each year give some of their time to support humanitarian organizations. It’s no exaggeration to say that these volunteers are the heart and soul of Translators without Borders. We save NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, over $200,000 each and every year, which means that they can deliver more vaccines, educate more children, clear more fields of land mines.

But we can do more.

Our goal is to expand our current activities up massively, so that TWB can help more NGOs. And not only this: we also want to extend our work to local languages such as Kiswahili so that we can help build a world where knowledge knows no borders.

Now let’s look at both parts of this goal, to both expand and extend what we do.

First of all, we want to to expand our current activities – humanitarian translations in dominant languages such English, French, Spanish, German and Chinese.

These translations serve to train humanitarian staff and communicate with donors and the outside world when a population is in danger. This is important, life-saving work.

In order to scale up, we plan to transform our current project management platform to an online, fully self-managing community so that the volunteer translators can link up directly with their preferred NGOs. If the ‘crowds’ on Facebook, LinkedIn and Wikipedia can come together to create amazing collaborative works, then why shouldn’t translators themselves come together in a community to help causes they believe in?

Giving the translators the freedom to choose their own NGOs and to work with them directly will allow Translators without Borders to help more by freeing those of us in the TWB office of the burden of individually managing each and every project.

So that is one of the reasons we are asking for donations: to create this online self-managing community of translators and NGOs.

If the first part of our goal is to massively expand on what we are currently doing, the second part of our goal is to extend what we do to local languages in a quest to help make knowledge accessible.

In a world full of glaring inequities, one of the most troubling inequities today is the fact that humans can only access critical knowledge, whether educational, medical, technical or scientific, if that knowledge happens to exist in a language they speak.

This means that most of the knowledge we take for granted is simply unavailable to the poorest people on this planet. We could be talking about the knowledge of how to avoid malaria, identify the stars in the solar system or build an electricity generator: it might as well be written in Martian for all the good it does the people who need this knowledge the most.

So what is Translators without Borders doing about this lamentable situation that affects up to 4/5ths of the people on this planet?

We are creating a program for mentoring translators in local languages like Kiswahili, Kikamba and Luo so that they can help local humanitarian groups make this critical knowledge accessible. For example, on a recent trip to Kenya I saw that local village clinics were equipped with health care manuals in English, a language understood by few of the people I encountered in the remote areas. Not even the healthcare workers spoke English well. This means that the knowledge to treat the people with the most fragile health on this planet – children and adults with AIDS, people suffering from chronic malnutrition, subject to malaria, cholera and other diseases – is locked up in a foreign language. Imagine if our doctors were trained in a language they barely spoke. What kind of quality care would be be getting?

So this is why we are fundraising. We are fundraising to hire a manager to lead our efforts to scale up our activities, to help us expand by creating an online community to serve more NGOs and to extend by supporting and mentoring local language translators who will begin building a world where knowledge knows no borders.

Please join us by visiting our website at http://translatorswithoutborders.org/ and clicking on “Donate”

One thought on “Why do we need money to give something away for free?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Why do we need money to give something away for free? | Speaking for TWB -- Topsy.com

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