Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Lingua Volunteer FAQ

Global Voices Thank you for considering Global Voices volunteering opportunities!

Global Voices is always looking for translators willing to help us to break the language barriers that separate peoples and cultures. If you have read our about us page, if the Global Voices Manifesto resonated with you and would like to know more about our day to day work before applying to join our team of volunteer translators, please see below the answers to volunteer's frequently asked questions.

Your question is not there? Please contact us!

What is Global Voices and what is Lingua?

Global Voices Online is an international, multilingual, volunteer-led project that collects, summarizes, and gives context to some of the best self-published content found on blogs, podcasts, photo sharing sites, and videoblogs from around the world, with an emphasis on countries outside of Europe and North America. We are a polyglot community of people who collaborate on a range of projects including Rising Voices, Global Voices Advocacy, and Lingua, a translation project that makes stories from the Global Voices in English website available in many other languages.

Why should I become a volunteer translator?

Well, see how some of the Global Voices translators answer this question!

“I’m a volunteer translator because I think it’s very important to convey people’s voices in a way and a language each one can understand.”, says Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe who joined Global Voices in Spanish in November 2007 and has since translated over 2,680 posts.

To connect, to learn, to share and most of all to contribute making this a better world…the world I dreamed of,” says Elizabeth Rivera, a Mexican translator and author, mom and life enthusiast based in Santiago, Chile who joined Global Voices team in 2011.

“Because I feel the urgency to multiply and amplify voices that demand a fairer world <3,” says Sara Moreira, a volunteer translator and Global Voices in English editor for Portuguese speaking countries.

“Because I will get to know social media like I have never known it before and also get to meet, through translating Global Voices articles, wonderful people from all over the world, who are as crazy as I am for changes and who are striving for it digitally,” says Thalia Rahme, from Beirut, a volunteer of Global Voices in Arabic and French.

“I like the idea of being able to inform others about what's happening in the remotest, often forgotten locales, thus helping weave ties between people living in the four corners of the world”, says Paris based French translator Samantha Deman.

“Because I think everyone should have access to breaking news around the world no matter what language they speak,” says Marianna Breytman, a translator based in New York City who joined Global Voices in English in March 2011 and translates from Spanish.

“Because I learn so much about the world with Global Voices that I want to share this knowledge with those who are not fortunate enough to read it in English,” says Paula Góes, a Brazilian translator based in London who joined Global Voices in Portuguese team in 2007.

Citizen media is our voice. I enjoy helping an independent news source like GV. Plus I can learn more about Latin America that I might not otherwise!,” says Stephen Cairns, American translator in Bogotá translating from Spanish for Global Voices in English since 2010.

“Translating for Global Voices taught me a great deal on a linguistic as well as a cultural level. I've had access to news never (or seldom) covered by traditional media. I see citizen media as a considerable advancement in democracy”. Audrey Lambert translates for Global Voices in French from Toulouse

Because it's a truly multicultural experience. Inspiring people write news stories from all around the world – I want to help to make their voice sound loud!” says Kasia Odrozek, a Polish translator based in Berlin who joined Global Voices in Polish team in 2011.

“To know more about the world and to increase my language content on the Internet,” says Mohamed ElGohary, Global Voices in Arabic Editor, who joined Lingua in 2009.

Because translation is almost a mission. One that can raise awareness about developments occurring in several regions of the world,” says Clara Onofre, a Global Voices in Portuguese translator and an author covering Angola.

“Because you can help the message reach the people”, says Aygun Janmammadova, a translator from Global Voices in Russian.

“Because I want local voices to be heard globally,” says Maria Waldvogel, who joined the Global Voices in German team in February 2011.

“Because we, the translators, are the megaphones that help the citizen voices are heard louder”, says Adriana Gutiérrez, Venezuelan translator who joined Global Voices in Spanish team in 2007 (and have since translated over 2,000 posts!).

“The world speaks many languages, and I want to help people listen better,” says Layal Al Khatib, who volunteers as an author and translator for Global Voices in Arabic.

“Volunteering translation for the GV feels like willingly opening new windows to the world and its million realities.”, says Anna Kokkinidou, a translator for Global Voices in Greek.

Visit worlds you still don't know and tell about it. Hush a minute: do you feel the vibe? Join GV now :)”, invites Luis Henrique, a volunteer of Global Voices in Portuguese team.

Besides getting involved in a very rewarding volunteer work, Lingua translators receive top of the page credit for their work and can gain valuable exposure for building translator portfolios. You will be a member of our international community and get to know people from our over the world who share the same interests. Most of all: you will have fun!

Global Voices 2010 Summit – Santiago, Chile

Global Voices 2010 Summit – Santiago, Chile

I would like to become a volunteer translator, what should I do?

We will be very happy to welcome you in our team! All you need to do to start with is complete our application form to provide basic information about you.

We look forward to receiving your message!

I am not a professional translator. Can I still apply to volunteer?

Yes, you can! Global Voices volunteers come from a variety of walks of lives. No formal translation qualifications or minimum experience are required, and you don’t even need to master the English language: it is possible to translate from other Lingua sites such as Global Voices in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian or French. If you are interested in our project, have some spare time and can translate into your mother tongue, you have everything it takes to become a volunteer for Global Voices Lingua Project.

Everything you need to know on a technical level will be taught to you, and you will be able to count on community help to get started. If you have no translation experience, you may initially work under closer supervision of an editor or team member. If you don't speak a second language at all or translation doesn't appeal to you, please see other ways to get involved.

What happens after I apply to become a volunteer translator?

It depends on individual teams. For some communities, applicants are required to undergo a translation test, which usually will be a post of their choice from the Global Voices in English site. For other groups, there will be a probation period with a series of translations before a translator is introduced to the team. For most teams, you just need to turn up. In any case, we will provide you with guidelines and give you all the support you need to get started. After some translations are published, you will be invited to join Global Voices mailing lists and meet other volunteers.

Can I choose the posts I want to translate?

Yes! Translators are free to chose any posts from Global Voices in English, Global Voices Advocacy or Rising Voices websites that they would like to translate, so you can even specialise in a subject or country of your preference. If you speak Spanish, Portuguese, Russian or French, you can also translate posts produced in those languages.

Occasionally, translators may receive a list of interesting articles to be translated or be invited to collaborate with special projects, such as the translation of manuals and guides produced by Global Voices Advocacy or Rising Voices, but it is always up to them if they want to get involved.

Where can I find help if I have a tech or translation related question?

Global Voices community is highly supportive and everyone will be happy to help you. If you have a question about how to translate a word or can't understand a phrase, you can always ask the editor or a colleague on our mailing list. If you have a technical question about how to use our content management system, based on WordPress, you can check our Lingua Translators Guide on the wiki. Take the opportunity to have a look on other Lingua related pages.

You can find good online resources, such as Word Reference, Free Dictionary, and the European Union's collection of resources for translators.

What happens if I make a mistake in my translation?

Don't worry! Translations are revised by editors or more experienced volunteers. They will make sure that your work is good and up to standards prior to publication. Time permitting, you will also receive feedback from them, so that you can improve your translation skills.

Is there a minimum commitment to be a volunteer? What about deadlines?

There is no minimum commitment to be a volunteer in terms of amount of posts to translate, you can do as little or as much as you like, according to your own availability and pace. As we have a large team of collaborators, if everyone translates a little bit, we accomplish a lot. As for deadlines, they are not such rigid rules for Global Voices translators, although in case of breaking news, the earlier the posts are translated, the better.

Global Voices Summit 2008, Budapest – Hungary

Global Voices Summit 2008, Budapest – Hungary

Do you offer payment for translations?

No. Global Voices is a volunteer-powered project and the Lingua sites are possible thanks to the generosity of hundreds of volunteers, who donate some of their spare time to translate and through this work make bridges between languages and cultures. Having said that, our translators feel very rewarded in so many other ways, and most have a kind of satisfaction that no financial rewards ever give: they feel they are making a positive contribution to the world. Translators learn a lot from their work too, and many volunteer to extend this knowledge to people in their countries.

Why translate ourselves, when people can use Google Translate?

That is a fair question! Translation machines are great tools to give you a sense of what a webpage is about and can be very helpful indeed if you just need instant access to web content. However, it is not the most recommendable tool for those who really want to deeper their understand of the world, learn about the beauty of other cultures and would like to understand the nuances of a different language, not to mention that these translation tools are not available in some languages, such as Bangla or Aymara. We prefer to offer our readers a translation we did with love!

I am a translation student. Do you offer internships?

Global Voices is a great place to carry out practical translation work and gain valuable experience. If you are a graduate or post-graduate student in linguistics, modern languages and translation studies and your university requires that you undergo a work placement during your course, we can offer you a place in our team as a translator or proofreader. However, please bear in mind that we do not have a physical office, so all work is done remotely and there might be no opportunity to meet editors face to face. If your internship work can be done remotely, please feel free to let us know what it requires from Global Voices and we will do out best to accommodate your needs. Either way, you can always join Global Voices as a volunteer!

So Global Voices collaborators never meet face to face? How do you work remotely?

Our volunteers are all over the world and this is one of most the beautiful aspects of of the project. We communicate through mailing lists and email, we share content through social network sites, we use wikis for coordinator, we hold Skype or IRC meetings – every team has its own ways to work together.

However, we do meet face to face every time that the opportunity presents itself. There may be local meet ups for Global Voices volunteers who live in the same city or special meet ups when two or more GVers happen to be at the same place. Likewise, should you travel around the world, it is more than likely that you will stumble upon a GVer wherever you go.

Apart from impromptu meetings, every other year or so, Global Voices hosts its Citizen Media Summit somewhere in the world, and we take the opportunity to try to bring together as many volunteers as possible! See the photos of the last time we met, in Chile.

Are you only looking for translators from English?

Not necessarily! Although most of our content is produced in English, we also welcome translators who can translate from Spanish, French, Portuguese and Russian into their languages, as Global Voices has begun publishing posts directly in those languages. These posts are always translated into English, so we also offer volunteer opportunities for native English speakers who can translate from our many Lingua languages into English. Apart from it, you don't like translating, you can also help with proofreading and revising tasks, or promoting the project.

Are you also looking for volunteers to cover the blogosphere in other languages?

We also welcome volunteers who would like to help our editors to cover a language or a region. Do you blog from or about a region or country that is ignored by traditional media? Do you follow the “conversation” in the blogosphere in your own country or some other country you know well? If you would like to help us improve our coverage, please check our author vacancy page for details about how to contribute articles summarising the activity from your country's blogosphere and who to contact. And yes, you can join Global Voices as both, volunteer author and translator.

Are there any other ways to get involved?

Yes, there are plenty of other ways to get involved! Becoming a part of the Global Voices community either as a reader or a contributor can be a very gratifying experience. Here are some ways you can support Global Voices:

  • Be part of the extended community: you can follow our Twitter feed or connect with us on Facebook.
  • Share our content: when you like a post, please do recommend it to your followers using our share buttons. You can also republish it: our content are available under a Creative Commons license which means you only need to attribute and link back to us.
  • Follow and embed our RSS feed on topics or countries that interests you (like “Human Rights” or “Middle East & North Africa”) directly on your website.
  • Blog about us: help us to reach our goal to amplify voices by blogging about us! Please feel free to spread the word in social networks, and why not: talk about us offline too.
  • Invite friends to volunteer: if you know people who would like to join us, point them to this page!

So… would you like to join our linguafabulous team of translators from all over the world? Write to us right now!

View Global Voices – Map of Lingua Translators Around the World in a larger map

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site