Spotlight on Translation

Today we’d like to shine the spotlight on the Translation committee. While you have probably seen the fruits of the translator teams’ work on the OTW website (and coming soon, the Archive of Our Own!), the Translation committee is the one pulling the strings in the background. Its three members hele, Tonje and Julia are responsible for organising and aiding the translator teams.

“Language nerdery” is part of the committee’s everyday operations. The committee members help translator teams solve language puzzles (quick, what’s the equivalent of a “3rd District Court of Appeals” in Finnish? Wikipedia to the rescue!) and liaise with other OTW committees, such as asking Legal to clarify US-American concepts or discussing the intricacies of our multilingual website with Webmasters. We’ll expand on the creative aspect of actual translation work in an upcoming spotlight — although all committee members share a fascination with language, actual translating is not part of their job description. Rather, the priority for the committee is keeping the teams up to date and organised.

The committee calls their project management style “creative improvisation”. From the start they’ve had to fit processes and tools to a unique project that’s ever-growing in both scale and scope (eleven languages on our website, and the committee has bigger plans yet). It’s definitely exciting, but it comes with a certain amount of trial and error, which the translator teams have been graciously putting up with.

At the top, circles of collaboration with other committees - Web committee is independent with information and work coming from Translation committee; International Outreach committee is overlapping with Translation, also with an arrow of information and work coming from Translation committee. At the center, a large circle representing the Translation committee, with explanatory text stating 'liaises with language teams'. The circle holds the three committee staff and their multi-volunteer teams. At the bottom of the graphic is the flow of the creation of documentation, represented with an arrow from the Translation committee to screenshots of the OTW's online translation tools.
A simplified graphic of the committee’s modus operandi. Please note: this figure doesn’t accurately represent number or size of teams, committee relationships, etc.

If this work sounds interesting to you — in short, if you are interested in language-related project management — the committee is looking for a few additional members. Please contact either the Volunteers and Recruiting committee, or, for additional information, the Translation committee.