By Phil Bartle, PhD
Spanish language Senior web site translator, Web designer , Web site manager. Translation Coordinator (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Basque, Galego, Greek, Romanian, Turkish).
About 10 or 12 years ago, my children were already attending school and, after being a very busy mom, I had long hours for myself. Surfing on the net, I found a French site ("L'oiseau bleu") dedicated to a rare disease which affects mainly children. The site asked for translators into several languages, and I joined them to translate the whole site into Spanish, my mother tongue. To teach me how to find the text among the html code, the webmaster sent me a brief “course” of html encoding, which was my first contact with this subject.
When I finished, I had already discovered my passion for translating and for computers, so I kept on searching for volunteer assignments, that's how I met Phil Bartle and the Community Empowerment site. The site is huge, and it took me several years to complete. During this time, Dr. Phil was a wonderful help.
In the web, I found amazing resources for translators: dictionaries, glossaries and free software. Maybe the best was CatsCradle, a free editor intended to translate web pages. As I know this software very well, I often coach other volunteers in its use.
Since then, and always keeping in contact with Community Empowerment, I’ve translated or collaborated in translations for several sites, including:
All those sites belong to non-profit organisations, devoted to development, human rights or culture. As a mother, my time and schedule is tight: the internet brings me the chance to help other persons who might not have the same opportunities my children do, and at the same time, allows me to look after my family. I can devote 4-6 hours a day to my work with those sites, but this is not an effort: I really love every minute I spend on them.
I have no degrees, I’m not a professional translator or computing expert, I just speak French and English, apart from my native Spanish, and I’ve learned how to deal with computers mainly from the webmasters I’ve worked with and, like most autodidacts, from the Internet. Probably, my best assets are intuition and a remarkable capacity to find answers and resources on the Web. I think my experience has encouraged other potential volunteers, as they saw they don’t need to be a graduate to do a good job. The most important thing is to be committed, reliable and devoted to what you are doing.
Notes by Phil:
She is a mother of two children who keep her busy. Every day, however, she finds time and energy to donate to translating web pages for non profit organisations. For our site alone, she has translated over 200 documents, almost the whole set of documents for the site, and coordinated other translators.
She also provides technical advice and encouragement to other translators. She has taught herself some graphics editing and makes many graphics files for the site.
She coordinates volunteers translating other languages, including Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, Catalan, Galego and Basque. With all her other contributions to the site, she is now Webmaster. Currently she is engaged in designing and converting the pages on the site to a new format which looks cleaner and more easy to read, and makes it easier to prepare translations for uploading.
A few of her pet peeves about some Spanish writing can be seen at "Errores."
Her close association with this web site over several years, discussing many of the concepts that sometimes need to be explained while en route between English and Spanish, has resulted in her having an in depth understanding of the community empowerment methodology. Because of that, she also handles most of the inquiries by Spanish readers of the site.
Lourdes was awarded the UN Online Volunteering Award in 2006.
Thanks to Lourdes Sada for her assistance in making this a more useful and interesting web site.
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