We often talk about the devaluation in language services and how we are expected to work almost for free. However, there are instances in which translators should do volunteer work. Volunteering opportunities for translators can be an extremely rewarding activity in which they can give something back to the global community.
With their excellent skill to bridge gaps in communication, translators are an essential part of international organisations. They help institutions from different countries to work together. Big organisations and charities are in a position to offer paid positions. However, the smaller ones, which often do essential groundwork, can’t afford translators for every language pair they need. These organisations provide volunteering opportunities for translators.
What Type of Volunteering Work Is There For Translators?
Perhaps the best well-known organisation offering volunteer work for translators is Translators Without Borders. A non-profit which coordinates translation work for the American Red Cross among others.
Translators can also find volunteering opportunities with other types of institutions which strive to disseminate knowledge and bring it to a wider audience. It may seem a less noble cause than coordinating a school build-endeavour in Costa Rica but it’s still rewarding work.
A good example of this is TED, a non-profit known for its talks, devoted to spreading knowledge. TED often has volunteering opportunities for translators. Equally, Wikipedia relies on volunteer work to ensure articles are translated into different languages.
Volunteering also offers translators the chance to broaden their knowledge. It takes them often outside their comfort zone and leads them to learn new vocabulary. Furthermore, volunteering offers them a chance to build up on their network. This is particularly useful when starting out as a freelancer.
In short, there is no shortage of volunteering opportunities for translations online. Likewise, you will be able to identify instances around you in which you can offer up your services. Some of these can even yield more business if you do it for the exposure. However, you have to be cautious when choosing these opportunities and ensure your skills really do go where they can’t be afforded.