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Subject: Inaugural Translations for Progress Newsletter!
From: Brendan Luecke
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 00:36:40 -0500

Welcome to the inaugural Translations for Progress newsletter! We’d like this to be a resource for you to learn about site updates and announcements, profiles of NGO endeavors needing translation help, and events that may be of interest to the translators, students, and socially active users of this site. This edition features technical updates and profiles of three exciting projects that are in need of translation help. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome; we want this to be a useful, informative and engaging tool. Enjoy!


Described as a “global movement fighting to bridge the digital divide”, the Stockholm Challenge is the world’s leading information and communication technology (ICT) award. The program strives to continually demonstrate how ICT can improve living conditions and increase economic growth worldwide: “the objective is to help local entrepreneurs…by bringing in research communities, development organisations and strong corporate initiatives.” An overwhelming success since its inception, the Challenge has created a network of some of the best ICT groups and cross-competence teams in the world. The site includes a searchable database of projects for other teams to study, and facilitates communication between development workers worldwide.

Over the past ten years, more than 3000 projects have been submitted to the Challenge; in 2004 alone, 900 projects from 107 countries were proposed. The categories range from Health and the Environment to e-Business and Education. Two of last year’s winning entries include: EHAS-Hispano American Healthlink, which aims to provide “low-cost telecommunication systems and information services for rural primary healthcare personnel from isolated areas in developing countries;” and Botswana Basket weavers - a group of 24 women from Botswana felt they were not being paid fairly for their crafts, so they joined with Botswanacraft Marketing to sell their wares online, directly to consumers. As a result, the women can now earn a living wage independently.

Six categories for the 2006 award were chosen to match the United Nation’s Millennium Goals:

* Public Administration - governance, citizen inclusion, public services, and communication infrastructure

* Culture - arts, entertainment, heritage, and tourism

* Health - telemedicine, hospital care, home care, health promotion, disabilities, and disaster and emergency services

* Education (for all people of all ages) - school and university level education, private and public courses, and training and practice

* Economic Development - business & enterprises, commerce, and regional economic development

* Environment - urban and regional planning, traffic and transport, and housing & living

Entries will be evaluated by an international panel of 30 experts on attributes such as innovation, convergence of different disciplines and sectors, inclusion, equal opportunity and sustainability.

The Stockholm Challenge needs your help. To date, there are 832 registered projects competing for this year’s award, and with just over a month until the application deadline, the Stockholm Challenge needs nearly 700 entries translated! Those that don’t get done by volunteers end up in Babelfish, which provides “creative translation services” that often challenge the English of even the best judges. If you can volunteer your time to help this worthwhile cause working to improve human lives globally, please contact Earl Mardle, Project Support worker, at, or contact the Stockholm Challenge directly through the Translations for Progress database. You can find more information about the award at, or send enquiries to


A program that links aspiring translators with NGOs and not-for-profit organizations in need of translation is thriving at University of Aconcagua in Viсa del Mar, Chile. Students in the English-Spanish translation and interpretation major at UAC combine their studies with real translation assignments, gaining invaluable experience while helping a variety of organizations increase their capacity to reach Spanish-language audiences.

Professor Veronika Dobrucki runs the student translation workshop like a professional translation service. She functions as the “manager,” locating clients with translation needs, assigning texts to appropriate students, and coordinating each project through delivery of the translated work. A student’s translated work goes first to Dobrucki, who checks it and discusses the work with the student before it is sent to the client organization as a finished translation.

UAC translators helped the Astronomical Society of the Pacific translate issues of “Universe in the Classroom,” their online newsletter for teachers. For the Nurture Adopt adoption agency students translated a brochure and information documents for expectant parents, as well as parts of the organization’s website. Spokespeople from both organizations expressed praise for the quality and promptness of the UAC translation work. Students have also translated about 20 articles for the website of Animal Freedom, a Dutch organization, and an entire book for Aldeas Infantiles SOS, the Chilean branch of SOS Children’s Villages.

About 12 students participate in the translation workshops each year, and they translate approximately 3000 words per week (from English to Spanish) during the March-to-November lecture period.

The program has been a big success for the students, Dobrucki said, as they feel they are no longer just students but “translators in training.” She also said the students gain by being exposed to real-life texts and situations that “teach them to be more critical towards society and allow them to gain awareness of the problems arising in society.” Dobrucki asks the client organizations to send a written acknowledgement of a student translator’s work, aiding the students in building their resumes and portfolios.

Dobrucki developed the NGO “client” program on her own and it is a labor of love for her; after all, it would be much easier to assign the same text for all students to translate. While the organizations are grateful for the students’ work, Dobrucki is equally grateful to them for allowing her students this valuable training opportunity.

Professor Dobrucki is seeking more material for students to translate when the next session begins in March. If your organization has material to translate from English to Spanish, please see the UAC information site at for details or contact Professor Dobrucki directly at

The UAC program is a perfect example of the kind of partnership Translations for Progress hopes to encourage between NGOs and individuals seeking to develop and use their translation skills. We wish Veronika and her students continued success.


One visit to the Tower of Babel website,, will open your eyes to new avenues of creative translation. Recognized by the United Nations since 2001 as one of the leading Social and Human Sciences Online Periodicals(*), the project engages nearly three hundred volunteer translators in 75 languages. The site began as an online meeting place for scholars to share ideas such as essays, travelogues, poems, theses, and opinions on current events. According to Malcolm Lawrence, the visionary behind this endeavor, the website “has flourished into an open source community of writers, artists and translators examining multicultural ideas and literary criticism with content in dozens of languages”.

The Tower of Babel website is not meant as an online university, but a resource to help students and professionals collaborate. Students are encouraged to volunteer for internships with Babel to gain practical experience in areas such as Computer Science, Translation, Web Development, Creative Writing, Proofreading, Art History, Journalism and Imagineering, to name a few. The site is also beneficial for those not affiliated with an academic program by creating worldwide exposure for their work, which can be translated into almost 100 languages.

Since switching webhosts this summer to accommodate MediaWiki software, Malcolm has been able to build 60 wikis for 60 languages and 44 forums. He’s about to “embark on mirroring what Wikipedia is doing,” (, in an effort to expand the Tower of Babel site, and would appreciate any volunteers that would like to be a part of this mission.

If you’d like to volunteer to translate, intern, or share your own work on the website, please visit This is a great opportunity to network with other translators, publish scholarly works, join discussion forums on anything from modern pirates to public policy, and just enjoy browsing some of the already translated works.

(*) To view the complete United Nations list of top Social and Human Sciences Online Periodicals, please see


Presently, Translations for Progress is introducing a number of changes that we’d like to let you know about.

First, we have added an editor function to the site. Volunteer translators are now able to offer their services as either bilingual (checking translation work) or single-language editors (proofreading texts written by non-native speakers). Eventually we plan to issue a set of guidelines for the use of editors by both translators and organizations to ensure higher quality and provide useful feedback for translators. We will also be publishing a more extensive version of the limited “Guide to Good Translation,” provided on the site currently, to help less experienced translators overcome frequently met difficulties.

Also, in the next month we will be launching the first multilingual versions of the site. In mid-December we should have Spanish, French, and Russian sites up and running, and hopefully, we’ll eventually be able to offer Translations for Progress in even more languages, including Japanese, Arabic, Portuguese, and Chinese.

We should also mention that we did have some issues with an email virus in the Translations for Progress system. While this virus didn’t affect anyone registered in the database, but rather internal TfP addresses, we would like to reiterate that Translations for Progress will never send you an email with an attachment. If you ever receive a TfP email with an attachment, please delete it immediately and inform us.

We hope that these changes will make the site easier to use and a better tool for all our users, organizations and volunteers alike. If you have comments on how the site is set up and maintained, or would like to make a suggestion, please use this e-mail form and share your thoughts. Your feedback is very important to us!

Many thanks to all of you for helping make Translations for Progress a great resource for language lovers and NGOs alike. We will do our best to make your experiences with us as rewarding and productive as possible!