Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Silarona, who volunteers for our Translation Committee.
How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?
I’m a translator and team-coordinator in Team Hungarian and a graphics volunteer for the Translation committee. Our team translates all content you can find in Hungarian on the site: the FAQs, Tutorials, News Posts. (Those three are my favourites. Who needs a normal, regular-length post with nice sentences? It’s either 30 pages of interface talk or announcements with untranslatable fandom terms.) We are also the ones who will help Support, Abuse and Tag Wrangling if needed, so you can contact the OTW or tag stuff in Hungarian and it’ll be answered / wrangled to the right place.
As a team-coordinator I’m responsible for (hopefully) remembering if we as a team have a task or a decision to make—this is usually things like keeping our internal cheatsheet up-to-date, being ready with the texts we use for recruitment and checking translated graphics.
The graphics are edited by a separate team from the committee based on the translations the language teams put together. Sometimes it’s easy, like when I can snatch up the Hungarian graphics, and sometimes I butcher stuff, like when I tried to make my Photoshop handle Bengali and it firmly refused.
What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?
I usually work in bursts, because I’m a procrastinator. Translators get week-long deadlines (depending on the length and urgency of the task) and we get helpful little reminders the day before our deadline, which is wonderful because then I finally remember that I have a task. This worked much better before I asked for the long documents—with more than 4 years at the OTW, I still can’t translate 16 pages in one sitting. (My comfortable limit is 5, with our two column view.)
This gets faster during Drives and Elections, when there is a lot of time-sensitive content and graphics to do, while I sometimes sit on a longer task for weeks when I’m busy with other stuff.
What made you decide to volunteer?
I saw Hungarian in the list of contact languages for the OTW, and I sent them a (very mistyped) message saying I’d love to help out if they need more people, because I could not get over the fact that my little language was available here. Does the OTW have recruitment periods and proper channels for this? Yes. Did I check anything about this? No. (Don’t do this. Check the recruitment notices!) I was lucky that the Hungarian team was relatively small then, so they allowed me to apply even though I trampled all over the procedure.
What has been your biggest challenge doing work for the OTW?
Maybe setting my limits. I adore volunteering for the OTW — it pulled me out of some darker spots during the years and it’s very important to me. I also have a very chaotic offline schedule, with sometimes basically nothing but free time for months, during which I almost applied to other, more demanding roles so many times. Later I could give thanks to all the deities that I did not apply when my work started up again and I was unable to keep up with even current Translation tasks for months. I still haven’t grown out of this, so I’m just waiting for the day when my good judgement slips.
What fannish things do you like to do?
Besides spending an unhealthy amount of time on AO3 (don’t we all), I’m a fanartist. It’s also my pet peeve that the archive should have more fanart. I know it can be complicated compared to text, but upload your fanart and videos and all kinds of other creations to it! There are tutorials for this. All the pros of AO3 (tags, filtering, collections, easy search and archiving, etc) apply to every kind of fannish work, not just fic [commercial over].
I usually paint traditionally, sometimes on odd things like fans or notebooks (I bind custom-made notebooks too). I’m trying to draw a comic with questionable speed. I also beta-read, mostly for my fandom spouse. I have Moments when I sign up to four different fandom events in a week, then spend the next half a year in Bangs and Secret Santas, just to spend the next half a year remembering I can paint random stuff too.
Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in the comments. Or if you’d like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.