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Pro Bono Translation

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



Thanks to the Pro Bono translators who volunteerd for CAWN!

Posted by Annemieke, June 29 2011

We have just finished the translation of a 48-page booklet for Central America Women’s Network (CAWN) from English into Spanish. A large number of translators offered their time and services for this cause, and we put together a team of nine volunteers who did an amazing job in a short space of time.

A big thank you to these translators:

  • Suani Vera
  • Laura Miguez
  • Virginia Muñoz Bermúdez
  • Ioana Basterra López
  • Mariela Gonzalez
  • Ana Mattioli
  • Aldana Michelino
  • Iballa López Hernández
  • Ana Clara Pergamo

Thank you all. The English and the Spanish version are available on

  Posted by Annemieke, June 29 2011
  Free Translation, Pro Bono Translation, Recent Projects, Translation



Communications Intern - Spanish Translations (unpaid internship)

Posted by Annemieke, March 07 2011

The Oxfam International (OI) Communications team is looking for an enthusiastic Spanish translations intern.  You will be a native Spanish speaker, and have English and preferably French language skills, proven organizational and time management skills and strong communication skills, translations experience will be highly regarded.  Please note that this is an unpaid internship.

Internship Profile

Location:  Oxfam International Secretariat, Oxford, UK
Department:  Brand & Communications

Internship Purpose

To provide translation support to the Brand and Communications team in the form of ongoing tasks and projects within the Oxfam International Secretariat office based in Oxford.  The projects will bring you into contact with the national Oxfam affiliate organisations and various personnel with a communications role.

Key Responsibilities

The Communications intern will support the Communications team with high-quality translation for the day-to-day tasks serviced by the Secretariat.

The internship will involve a range of the following activities to support internal and external communications, both verbal and written. Oxfam International produces all core materials in our three core languages; English, Spanish and French.

• Translating items for the Oxfam International Website including blogs, twitter posts, press releases and media briefings.
• Translating material and ensuring that the meaning of the source text is retained, alongside proofreading and editing final translated versions.
• Using specialist language and developing glossaries.
• Assisting with specific meetings, following the process from planning through to the meeting conclusion and outputs with regards to translation and administrative requirements.
• Working with the wider translations network within Oxfam International (French and Spanish web editors) and affiliates to ensure that the translations process is effective and efficient.
• Supporting the Secretariat to maintain the translations area on the intranet, updating and contributing to the translations group processes.
• Help ensure consistency within Oxfam translations.
• Assisting the team with other projects as required, this will include translating one off documents, e.g. the Oxfam Annual Report, Humanitarian reports.
• Answering general email enquiries (French and Spanish).
• Updating the general enquiries FAQ’s.

There is also opportunity to contribute to new projects the comms team are working on. You are expected to develop a good understanding of the main focuses of the organization and the processes which support out work.

The post-holder will work to a specific workplan and objectives and there will be regular opportunities to discuss progress against these.

Key competencies

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Native Spanish speaker, a good standard of English, and French is preferable.
• Accuracy, consistency and attention to detail.
• Proven organisational and time management skills.
• Familiarity with IT programs, including Lotus Notes, and Microsoft packages; Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Knowledge of CMS desirable. • Ability to work both autonomously and as part of a team.
• Previous translation experience is highly desirable.
• Any additional languages would be highly desirable.

This is a six-month (part-time or full-time) voluntary unpaid internship.

The post-holder must be eligible to do unpaid work in the UK.

To apply please send your CV (MS Word format) and covering email

Closing Date:   21 March 2011, 17:00 GMT (GMT +00:00) (GM +00:00)

  Posted by Annemieke, March 07 2011
  Internships, Languages, Pro Bono Translation, Translation