Podcast: interview with Paula Góes about Lingua — Global Voices translation project 1

Here’s a new ProZ.com podcast. These podcasts are designed to provide an opportunity to hear the week’s news, highlights of site features, interviews with translators and others in the industry, and to have some fun (see announcement).

In searching translation news on the Internet I came across Global Voices. I noticed that many of the projects were very interesting and I was specially intrigued by its translation project called Lingua so I got in touch with Paula Góez, Global Voices multilingual editor to learn more about Global Voices and the Lingua project.

At the beginning of the interview I asked Paula how she got involved with Global Voices and she explained that she first trained as a journalist and worked as a TV producer. She felt at ease with the written word so she became a translator when se went to London in 2002. Searching for blogs about translation she found out that the Global Voices project in Portuguese had just been launched and after reading the manifesto she knew it was the kind of project with which she wanted to get involved. She started as a volunteer translator in 2007 and then she also started to write. She found that her job was coming in between her volunteering activity so she decided to become a full-time freelancer and was invited to join Global Voices as its multilingual editor. She explained that Global Voices is a community of more than 400 bloggers and translators around the world who work together to bring reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media. Global Voices was founded in 2005 by former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief, Rebecca MacKinnon and technologist and Africa expert, Ethan Zuckerman while they were both fellows at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. The idea for the project grew out of an international bloggers’ meeting held at Harvard in December 2004 and it began as a simple blog.

In addition to the main news room there are a number of projects which are mostly born from the communities. These projects include: Global Voices Advocacy, Rising Voices, and the one Paula finds most exciting — the lingua project, which is the translation project of Global Voices. When Global Voices started in 2005 it was only available in English and the communities felt the need to have it in more languages so in 2007 they started with 5 languages and now they have over 30 active sites with translations coming in every day. There have been 10,200 translations posted since January 2011. She also explains how lingua changed from being a translation project into being a multilingual newsroom and how this process came very naturally as the community grew and there were a lot of people who could both translate and write and create content in other languages. As the majority of bloggers and editors did not speak English as their first language it made sense to have them write in their native languages. They created a decentralized workflow, a multilingual newsroom, where a news is written in a language other than English and then translated into English. This means, for example, that a news can be translated from Spanish straight into French so that English becomes less of a dominant language and other languages take more space. They did this because it is easier for people to write in their own language and stories came out faster. And what is really important now is that, in oder to be a volunteer for global voices, you do not need to know English as you can write in your own language.

To get involved translators only need to get in touch. Global voices does not require a formal qualification but people in charge of translations should know the language they are translating from and should be good writers. There are many professionals performing this task now. It is a great opportunity for aspiring translators as it is a great way to practise and build a portfolio to show off. Those who would like to volunteer only have to get in touch. There is a form you can fill at the bottom of this page.

Listen to the interview with Paula Góes here: ProZ.com podcast, 2011-09-02

Feedback and comments are welcome. You can reach me at romina at proz.com or via Twitter @ProZcom .

Those interested in learning more about Global Voices and its Lingua project can check the bottom of the Lingua page and complete the form corresponding to the language of their interest. You can also follow Global Voices on Twitter @globalvoices.

To listen to previous podcasts, check the podcasts tab in this blog.