Frequently asked questions

  1. What types of material come to Translators without Borders for translation?
    The areas that come up most frequently are medical, health, education, human rights, environmental and technical. Some work is of a general sort, some is quite specialized. The majority of the work from the Workspace is related to TWB's Development & Preparedness program which aims to provide support for non-crisis aid programs worldwide. For more information:
  2. What is the Translators without Borders „Workspace“?
    The TWB Workspace is an online platform where NGOs approved by TWB can connect with volunteer translators who would then accept working on different projects and delivering their work.
  3. What is the Translators without Borders „Translation Server“?
    The TWB Translation Server uses state-of-the-art translation technology and provides translators with an online translation interface. But only Workspace requests that were created on the Translation Server can be translated on using the Translation Server. This Server is based on the open-source MateCat system and from January 2017, it will provide Workspace jobs with the opportunity of containing a direct link to this new online translation interface in which a team of translators can meet and discuss their assigned parts for translation/e­diting. There are several good reasons for the choice of online translation, most notably: the ability for translators to work in teams which TWB strongly believes will help our volunteers' community grow both bigger and closer, the support for translators who cannot or do not want to have their own translation tools, and the reduction of the management overhead for NGOs and TWB PMs. If you want to access the TWB Translation Server, please go to Translation Server and log in either as an NGO that has a Workspace account, a volunteer translator or TWB staff.
  4. Are translators paid?
    No. Although there have been rare exceptions, most of the projects are done strictly on a volunteer basis.
  5. Does Translators without Borders charge its partners?
    Yes, there is an annual subscription fee of $500. This is an initial fee introduced in January 2017 for the first 20,000 words, and it will cover their use of the Workspace, general management of the Workspace and Translation Server, as well as the future development of our community. The additional payments will be based on the partner’s annual expenditure and the volume of translation/other work with TWB. We do ensure that very small partners doing great strategic work are still supported.
  6. If you get payments, why don’t you pay translators?
    The management fee we are requesting from our partners only covers oversight of the Workspace and Translation Server, allowing us to professionalize the Workspace for our volunteers and our partners. With our current growth, we need a dedicated team to properly oversee and support the Workspace going forward.
  7. Who are the volunteers?
    Mostly full-time professional translators.
  8. Can students volunteer?
    No, but we are currently working to add community levels, allowing us to realize our goal of working with students and newly educated translators.
  9. Is there a screening process?
    Yes. Interested parties complete sample translations, which are reviewed by previously accepted translators. The screening process is waived for translators screened through the Certified Pro Network, the ATA, and other accreditation organizations. For more information on the recruitment process, please go here:
  10. Why is it necessary to screen, given that this is volunteer work?
    The nature of the work demands that quality be controlled. Therefore, Translators without Borders is committed to providing high-quality translations
  11. After translations are completed by volunteers, do they get reviewed before delivery to the partner?
    No, they usually go straight to the partner. (Hence the importance of screening translators in advance.) With the introduction of the Translation Server, regular Quality Checks will be processed and quality reports produced.
  12. How do projects get assigned to translators?
    When a project is posted, translators working in the required language pair are notified by email. The translator or translators who accept the job first, get it.
  13. What if I am busy with other work?
    Simply turn off or ignore any notifications you receive.
  14. As a volunteer, how much work would I be expected to do?
    As much or as little as you like. Just be sure to complete any work you do accept by the deadline indicated or notify the PM at your earliest convenience for your non-availibity.
  15. When I accept a project, will I be working alone, or will I be working with other translators?
    Some projects go to a single person, some go to a group, depending on the project's size and deadline.
  16. In group projects, is there communication among the group?
    Yes. It is common for translators to discuss terms, etc. This can happen either on the comment section from the Workspace job, or in the comment section from the online platform for translation.
  17. Is there direct contact with the partners?
    There can be. Questions and comments can be posted back and forth between the partner and translator(s). The degree to which partners get involved in the details of projects varies, but they are always encouraged to be as active as possible.
  18. What tools are used during the translation process? Are translation memory tools required?
    Translators without Borders has started the deployment of a centralized translation memory, the TWB Translation Server, which is based on open-source software and integrates translation memory, terminology, team translation and quality assurance features.
  19. Is Translators without Borders a registered non-profit?
    Yes, Translators without Borders is registered as a non-profit organization in both the United States and Kenya.
  20. I'd like to offer my services as a translator for Translators without Borders. Where do I go?
    Start by going to the Translators without Borders registration page at
  21. Can I volunteer as a project manager?
    Yes! Plese apply to volunteer with TWB at this link
  22. What is the relationship between and Translators without Borders?
    Like the translators, offers services to Translators without Borders on a volunteer basis.
  23. How do I deliver a translation carried out online using the TWB Translation Server?
    Ensure that the translation is shown as 100% complete in the Translation Server (e.g. by clicking on the progress bar on the bottom left of the translation interface; this will take you to any segments not yet translated). Then, in the Workspace, mark the task as complete – there is no need to upload your target file in Workspace, since it is already stored on the online platform.
  24. I have uploaded my translated file but I can't see it on the screen: what should I do?
    Before proceeding to upload it again, please refresh the page on your browser.
  25. I can't login – what to do?
    Click on the „Forgot your username or password?“ to be reminded of your username and to reset your password. Also, if you have a profile, you can try using your username and password.
  26. Why is there a „mark as complete“ button on the workorder page?
    This button exists so that you can indicate that you have uploaded all the files that you intend to upload, so that the job may proceed to the next step in the workflow.
  27. Can I upload supporting material, like glossaries or TMs, when delivering my translations?
    Translations carried out in the TWB Translation Server are directly saved into the central translation memory. Glossary terms can also be entered during translations. For traditional Workspace tasks, you can upload additional files as long you've not clicked „mark as complete“.
  28. I've completed a translation, but the deadline has not yet been reached. Can I still make changes to it?
    If the translation was carried out online, using the Translation Server, the link remains valid even after you've marked a translation as complete. For traditional Workspace task, translations can only be modified as long as a task has not been marked as complete.
  29. Can I request that a task I have marked as complete be reopened?
    Yes. Please write directly on the comment section from the corresponding job and the PM on this project will get back to you. If the job has not yet moved forward, the task may be reopened.
  30. What sort of recognition or reward is there for volunteers?
    The satisfaction of participating in worthwhile projects is the main reward. Translators are also recognized in the Translators without Borders Translation Center, via their profiles, and in an optional „badge“ that shows words delivered. (For more about the badge, see:
  31. How can my organization have access to the services provided by Translators without Borders?
    Translators without Borders has a screening process to accept new organizations. To start this process you should submit an application via the Translators without Borders website:…application/. One of our major goals is to make sure the work our community does truly makes a difference. As such, we ask our NGO partners to provide documentation showing the impact they make, in order to ensure that they strategically fit our goal to increase access to health, educational and crisis information in local languages.
  32. How can my organization access the Translators without Borders Translation Center?
    Once approved, every NGO receives an invitation via email to claim its account on the platform: the email contains all the info for this very easy and fast process.
  33. How can I log-in to the Translators without Borders Translation Center?
    To log in, please visit this page: and simply use your credentials (or those you have created when you registered) to log in.
  34. I am a volunteer translator, how can I edit my Translation Center profile?
    While logged in, simply click on your name displayed on top right of the page. You will be directed to your profile page where you can modify it by clicking on “edit profile”, on the left column.
  35. How can I edit my NGO's profile?
    While logged in, slide the cursor on your name on the top right corner on the page, then click on settings, and you will be directed to the profile edit page.
  36. How can I edit my NGO’s information displayed on the platform?
    While logged in, click on “NGO” on the top orange bar. A list of NGOs will show: please find yours and click on the name written in orange. In the following page, on the left column, click on “edit profile” and you will be able to modify name, website and description for your NGO.
  37. How can I create a new work order?
    As of 1st of January 2017, work orders should be initiated on the Translation Server.
  38. Can I be sure that my translation request will be accepted by the volunteers?
    Translators without Borders can’t assure that translation requests will be accepted by volunteers. NGOs should therefore put all their efforts in presenting their requests in the best possible way.
  39. What should I do to make it more likely that my translation request will be accepted?
    Provide as much information as possible about the cause for which you seek translation support. Those who are available and believe in the cause are the ones who will accept the work.
  40. What happens after the work order is created?
    If the work order is less than 2000 words, invitations are automatically sent to volunteer translators for the corresponding language pair. If there are more than 3000 words, a project manager will be notified and she/he will split the document and then activate the automatic invitation process.