Frequently asked questions
- What is the mission of TRANSLATIONS FOR PROGRESS?
- The mission of Translations for Progress is to provide translations to
organizations working for the public good that wouldn’t be able to pay for
then otherwise and to help students get involved in social issues early
- Does Translations for Progress support any political causes?
- We’re neutral. However, if you advocate violence in any form your
organization is not welcome here.
- Will Translations for Progress use my personal information for any
- No. Please read our
- The site isn’t working! What do I do?
- Please tell us. The site, as most are, is a work in progress. The more
feedback we get, the smoother things will run. For the full functionality, the site requires that your browser accepts cookies originating from this site.
- What is your newsletter? How do I sign up?
- The newsletter comes out about once a month and is for announcements
about changes on the site and events that would be of interest to the
translator/student/socially active crowd that frequents the site.
Eventually we would like to tailor the newsletter to highlight possible
translator-organization combinations as well. You can subscribe/unsubscribe to
it by checking the corresponding item in your profile.
- I’ve registered on the site. Do I just wait for an organization or volunteer to contact me?
- No! If you’re looking for a job or translator now, contact them!
- Our organization is not formally registered as an NGO. Can I still use Translations for Progress?
- Yes. We don’t impose any formal requirements on what kind of organizations
can use the site, though we ask in good faith that all organizations on
the site are working primarily for the public good. We do this because in
some countries registration for NGOs can be difficult, expensive, and even
used as a way of interfering with groups that support politically
unpopular causes. We want this service to be available to every
organization that needs it.
- Our organization runs a small business for fundraising purposes. Can we use Translations for Progress for commercial ventures of this nature?
- Yes, but please bear in mind that this is a very slippery slope. If you don’t have a website you may be asked to verify your identity or activities in some other way. Volunteers may view your translation tasks with suspicion as it would be very easy for a business to pose as an NGO and request “fundraising” translations.
- I’m a scholar. Can I use the site to translate academic work?
- Typically no. Our requirement for “organizations” is that they work primarily for the public benefit. While academia is arguably an institution beneficial to the public, so are business and government, neither of which are allowed to use the site. However, you may use our site if your academic translations truly bring a direct benefit to the wider society (as opposed to the general situation when they benefit primarily the author of the original work and academicians who will be able to read it). If you feel that your academic work belongs on Translations for Progress, please contact the site administrator and tell us why.
- Can political campaigns use the site for translations?
- Yes. Returning to this same criterion, while political campaigns are not permanent organizations, depending on your politics, they are working for the public good and are also typically overwhelmingly volunteer efforts. One might object that having a political agenda means they only respond to certain interests, but a great many NGOs work to promote their own political agendas as well.
- Can labor unions use the site for translations?
- Typically yes, however the translation should be used for protecting union members rights, not promoting the interests of labor union members through commercial ventures.
- What type of information should I put in our Organization Description?
- General information about your organization, its mission, history, and
activities is appropriate. You should also include information (as
detailed as possible) about your translation needs. In general, more
information is better.
- What language should I use to post our Organization Description?
- English is the most widely read on the site, but you may post in any
language you like. If you need a Russian to English translator, your
volunteer will be able to find you in Russian as well as in English.
- Translators keep contacting me about a volunteer position I’ve already filled. What do I do?
- Remove the task. If you have an open invitation in your organization
description such as "Seeking Turkish Translators for occasional
correspondence translations," you might want to change your description.
- I’ve been contacted by a translator for a job. Am I obligated to give them the assignment?
- No. In fact we encourage you to be selective. There are a lot of translators on the site. Some will be busy, others not qualified, and others not interested. You may have to look around a little bit to find a good fit.
- Can we offer an honorarium for volunteer translation?
- Yes you may. However, we request that you don’t publicly announce the honorarium in your task description. Offer it only to volunteers that you feel would be qualified for the job. We understand that some organizations would like to offer honorariums as a means for getting greater commitment from volunteers and simply because they have some limited funds budgeted for the cause, but an open posting would allow translators to use Translations for Progress as a job posting site – which it is not.
- How much experience do I need to volunteer on Translations for Progress?
- None. There are no formal requirements for experience or skill level to
post a profile on the site. However, we do ask that you are frank about
your own abilities. Don’t take on an assignment if you aren’t sure you’ll
be able to do a competent job.
- What type of information should I include in my Resume?
- Some people simply paste in a copy of their resume, others write a few
paragraphs about their experience and areas of expertise if any. In
general, more information is better.
- Should I post my Resume in different languages?
- Some organizations needing translators have no one that speaks English.
A short version in your target language isn’t bad idea.
- How do I know if an organization needs help now?
- Look at the "Tasks" list. When organizations have an urgent need for
translators they will post a task. Some organizations, however, have long
term needs for occasional translation. You might only find information
about this in the organization descriptions.
- Will I get paid for volunteering with Translations for Progress?
- No. This site is exclusively for volunteer work. Please do not ask
organizations to pay a fee or distribute resumes in hopes of finding
paid work. Sites such as ProZ.com exist for this purpose. A small number of organizations may choose to offer an honorarium for work performed. This is independently decided by the organization and will be offered to you only if decide to work together.
- Am I obligated to accept a job if an organization contacts me?
- No. You are free to accept or reject any job you want. If you are particularly busy, the job is outside of your area of expertise or perhaps too challenging, or if the material simply doesn’t interest you, you may want to turn down an offer.
- If Translations for Progress is for NGOs that don’t have the budget for professional translators, how do you determine a NGOs ability to pay for translation work?
- We ask in good faith that NGOs are forthcoming about their ability to pay
or not pay for translation services. If they can and do usually use
professional translators for certain jobs, they should continue to do so.
- Translators are highly skilled professionals? How do you expect students to replace them?
- We don’t. There are some jobs that a language student typically can’t,
and shouldn’t take on. Highly technical translations, medical documents,
contracts, and legal documents are some examples. Depending on their
proficiency in the languages in question and familiarity with the
materials that need to be translated, a volunteer’s ability to take on
a job would vary from case to case.
- Does Translations for Progress drive down wages for professional translators?
- We don’t believe it does. The organizations that Translations for
Progress is intended for are groups that would be seeking volunteers
from other sources, or simply going without translations if our site
were not available. Some nifty economic research would be necessary to
quantify this claim, but we’re already quite busy maintaining the site!
- I think an “organization” is abusing the website. They are asking for translations that don’t seem at all related to any social cause. What should I do?
- Please report any suspected abuse of the site. We don’t screen organizations before they register, so there is a potential for this type of behavior. Fortunately we haven’t encountered it thus far. Some organizations, like Oxfam’s Fair Trade program, use commercial ventures as a means of promoting social change and economic development. Others have business models that work as fundraising mechanisms to support the organization’s other activities. These types of commercial translations would be allowed on the site, but as a volunteer, we ask that you use your judgment. If you think and organization isn’t doing what it claims to be, please tell us. Using the site for commercial purposes is strictly forbidden, and the organization will likely be banned from the site if found in violation of this policy. You should also probably turn down the assignment.