Archive for the ‘Voluntary Work’ Category

Translators for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

December 2, 2007

France24, “the French CNN”, has reported on the recruitment of Chinese translators for the Olympic Games. French and English are now totally covered, but other languages are still in demand, for instance Farsi, and African and Scandinavian languages. There is even a young Chinese expert in the Czech language. A total of 4000 young volunteers are expected to help for translation.

More information on volunteers for the Beijing Olympics here or here.

Paid vs. Unpaid Translation-Take 2

November 19, 2007

After this first experience, I retreated from formal voluntary work for a long time. I don’t have the guts to work for Amnesty International, for example, and I feel a little guilty in that department.

Having thus lost myself in translation for many years, there came a point in my life when I wanted to make myself ‘useful’ again, and I started voluntary translation (written).

But, how do you reconcile a busy schedule with voluntary work?

Voluntary organizations, especially the smaller offices, need a commitment that makes your work meaningful. I assigned one day per week to one particular organization. One day can mean a lot of money for a translator, so it wasn’t a fixed day, I was able to move it in the week as I needed in order to cover an urgent deadline, or I couldn’t work around a paid project. And with modern technology, I was still able to receive notifications of projects offered by my clients on my mobile, so I wasn’t losing anything.

From my observations, I can list at least 3 good reasons for doing this kind of voluntary work during your working life, and I can tell that this was truly a win-win venture. It has broadened my expertise into the field of community development, where I can now work with confidence and get paid, it has broadened my social network, as I made a few friends through my voluntary work, and my personal perception is that you can assert yourself more as a professional than when you are just a student or a beginner. I phased out after the one-point-five-million-word mark, it was probably more because I didn’t start counting from Day 1. I wasn’t bored, but I needed more personal time for other pursuits.

I also do occasional unpaid work for friends, but also for young people (not homework, though!). There is a young lady out there in a US university, whose transcripts I translated so that she could get accepted. I was so proud for her when she did (she got in because of her brilliant ratings, not because of my translation)!

Paid vs. Unpaid Translation-Take 1

November 19, 2007

When young translators look for jobs to improve their practice, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘voluntary work’. A good idea, as it provides real-life practice, something that one is keen to get after a couple of years of learning how to translate.

When I started out as a translator, about 30 years ago, one of my first assignments was voluntary interpreting at a conference of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament held in Bradford, England. We were a small group from the same Paris university. Bradford seemed cold and grim, even in July, but the first evening, we ventured outside in search of a restaurant, only to find what seemed to us a crowd of Pakistani young men hanging out in the streets, just standing, not moving, looking very sad and idle and lonely… so -those were the days- we hurried back into the conference, into the comradeship of (unpaid) workers for a Good Cause. Our working conditions were very amateurish, probably violating every single rule ever devised by our international association, but this was offset by the warm, genial atmosphere.

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