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August 2011

How pro bono translation can lead to paid work

Posted by Annemieke, August 08 2011

CAWN, a small international NGO based in London, carried out a funded research project on violence against women and asked Media Lingo to translate the report into Spanish. When Media Lingo, a subtitling and translation company in Kent, asked their network of Spanish translators if they would be willing to help out with the translation of the 60-page Toolkit for Intersecting Violences, almost 40 linguists were keen to get involved. The work was divided over nine translators with expert knowledge of the subject and proofread by local volunteers at CAWN in South-America. The charity gave the translators feedback and acknowledged their work in the translated version, which in turn has led to more work for the volunteers involved.

Pro Bono translations cost the charity or NGO nothing, however translators who undertake pro bono work are generally looking for two things. There's the feel-good factor, the satisfaction one gets from putting his or her skills to good use and helping groups of people or charities who are in need of help. The other rewards pro bono translators are looking for relate to professional development, recognition and recommendations.

Pro bono translation work is becoming a popular way to enter the translation profession. The subject matter is often interesting, the charity usually provides useful feedback and references, and translators work together in teams where they can make valuable connections. References are particularly important for freelancers starting out in the translation industry, because prospect clients are normally unable to judge the work a translator has done previously. A good reference from an NGO can just give the freelancer's career the boost it needs.

Media Lingo plans to carry out more pro bono translations to help charities and provide valuable feedback and experience for translators. It points out that pro bono translation is not to be confused with free translation. “Free translation refers to the use of automated tools. In our opinion, no self-respecting translation company would offer so-called free translation. Just as a Michelin-star chef wouldn’t serve up boil-in-the-bag coq au vin, a translation company that is serious about producing high-quality translation would not recommend free translation”, says Annemieke de Bruin, Managing Director of Media Lingo.

Media Lingo is a translation and subtitling company based in Royal Tunbridge Wells. It was incorporated in 2009 and is growing quickly thanks to the unique mix of services offered. Dealing with one company that offers both translation and subtitling under one roof is especially beneficial for companies in the media industry, who need text and website translation as well as video subtitles, because it ensures consistency across all communications and allows for quicker turnaround and a more efficient service.


  Posted by Annemieke, August 08 2011
  Free Translation, Press Release, Pro Bono Translation, Recent Projects, Translation