Translate A Story: How to Participate
Translate a Story is an ongoing initiative of the Global Book Alliance and offers a unique opportunity for various entities such as Ministries of Education, Higher Education Institutions, Youth-led or youth-serving organizations, or NGOs to create high-quality reading materials in local languages at a relatively low cost.
Translate a Story is a collaboration including the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the Global Book Alliance (GBA), the Global Digital Library (GDL), Learning Equality , Curious Learning, Verizon and Creative Commons, to organize a translation campaign to help translate children’s reading books into new languages.
The initiative takes place from World Book Day (April 23) to International Literacy Day (September 8) 2021 and is expected to result in translation of over four thousand digital storybooks.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
You can sign onto the initiative by assembling a translation team to translate digital storybooks into local languages, and to provide verification and quality assurance of those translations.
THE TRANSLATION TEAM
A translation team consists of three elements:
- Leader – Point of contact with the GDL, this person chooses which books will be translated, and organizes the translators.
- Translator(s) – Volunteers or staff members who have agreed to help translate. They are fluent in the languages they will be using. A leader can also be a translator.
- Proofreader – typically (but not always) a language expert, interpreter, or government representative, this person verifies the language and spelling/grammar of translated works. Sometimes this person serves the role of leader and/or translator too.
WHAT IF WE DON’T HAVE A PROFESSIONAL PROOFREADER?
The GDL is open and flexible about what constitutes a proofreader. In the past, the GDL has used government representatives, teachers, linguistic scholars, interpreters, and language champions (those who are very active in translation communities). It is preferred that proofreaders have some relevant certification, but we understand that for some languages, this is challenging. If you’d like to discuss an alternate way of assuring the quality of the translations, please contact Rachel Dyl ([email protected]), who is helping to coordinate the effort.
If translation teams do not have a proofreader, then it is still possible to translate books for use in your local area, for example within a project, via a private link to the GDL website that can be shared. However, the books will not become publicly available on the GDL until a suitable proofreader is found and depending on the language, this could take many months.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PLAY IN THIS?
The GDL has worked in a variety of contexts where the Ministry of Education was actively involved in translation of storybooks. Ministry staff can serve any of the roles on a translation team, leader, translator or proofreader.
If the Ministry approves the resulting materials, they could subsequently be used in classrooms. This has some powerful implications -- such partnerships can result in greater numbers of official reading materials for the children of that country, and can help the translated materials have a wider reach. This model has worked well in Rwanda, where 50 titles were translated from English to Kinyarwanda and approved for use in classrooms. This process is expected to be replicated in many other countries.
It is not a requirement to have government approval of storybooks, or to work directly with ministries in-country, but including the Ministry of Education is a powerful option to consider.
I’VE GOT A TEAM! WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
That’s great! Let us know. Rachel Dyl ([email protected]) is coordinating the effort, and can provide teams with an online shared spreadsheet with a list of simple English titles to start the process. This list is a set of suggestions, a place to start, but if your group would like to translate a different subset of books, that is also fine. You can add any titles you want to the list simply by searching the GDL, selecting desired books, and pasting links to those books into the online spreadsheet. There is no restriction on which GDL books you can translate.
MY TRANSLATORS DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH. CAN THEY STILL PARTICIPATE?
Yes! Books can be translated from any language into any language on the GDL, including sign languages and non-latinic script languages. Not all languages are available for translation on the GDL (yet) so be sure to check whether the language you are interested in translating from is available.
HOW DO WE TRANSLATE A BOOK INTO SIGN LANGUAGE?
Translating into sign language is very much like translating into any text-based language -- but requires a video of a signer on each page. There are detailed instructions for how to do this, and we encourage you to consider including sign language in your efforts, as the global need for sign language storybooks is immense.
HOW DOES THE TRANSLATION HAPPEN?
Translation happens directly within the GDL platform. Each member of your team should create an account and log in. From there, your translators can click on the link from the list, choose “translate” and then replace the existing text with text in the new language. Translations are not limited to Roman alphabet languages -- as long as your translation team has a keyboard in the script of the language, it will be registered on the GDL translation platform. If your team is translating into sign language, instead of typing, they will upload a sign language video for each page. Learn more in our translation tutorials for text and sign language translations.
When the translator completes a book, they will receive a unique link to the translated book. They will copy that link and place it in the “translated” column in the spreadsheet. A proofreader can click on that link and review the new book. The proofreader can provide feedback for the translator if needed, or make any changes themself. Once all of the feedback is addressed, the proofreader will use the spreadsheet to sign off on the translation by placing their initials in the “Quality Assured” column. Then the leader of the team will let the GDL know that the books are ready to go live! The GDL will then post the materials publicly, and let teams know that their new books are ready to use.
To learn more, visit translateastory.org or reach out to: