A unique translation collaboration launched by the growing TWR video team enables volunteers who speak languages in addition to English to play a hands-on role in missions.
Now people who have language skills and a desire to get more involved in missions can make a valuable contribution by helping put subtitles on videos produced by TWR (also known as Trans World Radio). And these bilingual or multilingual volunteers can sign up at twr.org/subtitles to do their part from home and in line with their own schedules.
“Every year the number of videos TWR is producing is increasing,” said Tyler Gates, global video coordinator. “As our capacity increases, that’s giving us more opportunities to share the perspectives of TWR workers all over the world, which is one of our greatest strengths – our international staff. But there’s a language barrier when sharing the stories of international workers in English.”
So Gates found an online service at Amara.org that enables volunteers to watch a video interview and then type in the English translation of what is being said. The online system is “remarkably easy” to use even for first-timers, he added, which means that volunteers with the necessary language skills and an Internet connection can do the work whenever they have free time.
By signing up at twr.org/subtitles, volunteers will be added to a database of willing and able translators whom the video department staff can contact as the need arises.
“The cost to translate and transcribe an interview can be around $1,000,” Gates said. “So if one video has three or four interviews, it would not be unreasonable to have to pay $3,000 to $4,000, especially if there are multiple languages. This is only going to be an increasing reality for TWR, that we’re going to have to get these translated so we can unlock the stories for audiences around the world.”
Although major languages such as Spanish, French, German, Russian, Portuguese and Mandarin likely will make up the bulk of translation assignments, Gates said, languages that have been translated recently for TWR videos include Serbian, Bosnian, Japanese and Arabic. For a ministry that operates in 160 countries and more than 230 languages, the need for translation is expected to be plentiful, and the volunteer translator will providing a substantial material benefit for TWR.
“There are a lot of people who have a heart for ministry but they can’t leave the house, or they don’t have transportation or a lot of money to give for missions,” Gates said. “I want to make sure that people understand that every gift and every talent given to you is given by the Lord for his Kingdom’s sake.”