wiki:projects/internationalization/call_volunteers_on_translation

(first version written by Roberto Tijerina)

Greetings members and friends –

In the December 2011 Lowdown, Ross Glover wrote about the recent unification of May First/People Link with its sister organization in Mexico, LaNeta. You may have noticed that Ross’s eloquent detailing as to the reasons for the union, sharing of some organizational history, and outlining some of the opportunities and challenges presented by this fusion were transmitted in both Spanish and English – and subsequent Lowdown issues have been translated to both languages. Yes, MF/PL has entered a new era both in its operations and communications.

Chief among the challenges of merging two long-standing, political organizations based in different countries is dismantling the language barrier. On the most basic level, this requires the translation of all communications, along with people available and willing to do the translating. MF/PL is making a call to its membership and supporters for volunteer translators willing to donate time to make MF/PL a truly multilingual organization. Details on how to volunteer can be found toward the end of this article, but first:

While translating written material to make it accessible to English and Spanish reading members is integral to moving forward, it is only the first and most basic step. MF/PL staff, along with members that have long-time experience working around linguistic access, are taking the opportunity presented by this incorporation to rethink how the organization builds its multilingual capacity – in its printed materials, electronic communications, interface, and live spaces.

The big questions are: How do we create a new organization that treats both languages equally, guaranteeing that the voices of the entire membership are heard? How do we make sure that the translation and messaging are not overwhelmingly uni-directional? Instead, how do we bring opportunities for respect, understanding and collaboration? How do we make sure that all entry points into the organization are linguistically-accessible? How to build the bases for cross-cultural dialogue inside the progressive movement across borders?

Developing creative and efficient ways to tackle these questions requires an analysis of both language as a tool of power that increases political and cultural influence as well as the history of how language has been used in the context of colonialism and imperialism to breakdown and isolate occupied peoples. It also requires addressing the multiple ways that language can perpetuate differences in gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, age, and ability.

Just as importantly, it requires the involvement and support of the membership. MF/PL is extending two invitations. Politically, you are invited to share your thoughts on how to move forward and make MF/PL a linguistically non-imperialist and democratic organization. If you are interested you can join the internationalization email lists here where we will have the chance to agree on how the translation-team will be organized, how to do translation revision, how to consider variations in vocabularies, etc.

Logistically, you are invited to volunteer to be part of our translation team and donate a few hours a month to translating member communications, important reports and calls for national and international action, leadership committee announcements, support-team advisories, web and support wiki pages and all the important communications that can give our internet, the one we are slowly and consistently developing, the power to become an effective media of global social change. This is a multilingual and multicultural collaboration in the social movement based in respect and understanding. If you think these ideas are important and you would like to join the translation-team, please send an email to l10n@…

Since we are committed to bringing participation initiatives, announcements, reports and any written expression that can empower social movements across borders, we are expecting to initially receive both English to Spanish and Spanish to English translation requests from members. All translation requests submitted by MF/PL members would be considered eligible for translation. The translation team will evaluate, prioritize or decline each request based on team capacity and other agreed upon criteria developed by the translation-team members. The more volunteers committed to the translation-team goals, the more capacity we will have to support increasing number of requests.

The translation pipeline is described in the general workflow for internationalization.

This new work is exciting in its challenges and opportunities, and the translation team is looking forward to taking it on. We also recognize that there are other languages besides Spanish and English represented in MF/PL’s membership as well as the limitations in capacity to adequately address them. Full linguistic access is a never-ending conversation, and one that we plan to continue to engage in.

In Solidarity MF/PL Translation-Team

Last modified 8 years ago Last modified on Mar 14, 2012, 3:43:50 PM