Project of the Day: Guerrilla Translation!

At the P2P Foundation, and we believe we can here speak for once as part of the p2p movement more generally, we have already tremendously benefitted from the high quality work of our guerilla translators friends.

So, go for it guys, glad you are formalizing these activities!

Here is their story:

“Guerrilla Translation comes from a love of sharing.

Somewhere along the line, many of us stopped seeking only monetary incentive for our art, music, writing and other forms of creativity. Instead, as part of our own development, we began freely sharing our work online, and building relationships in the process. Guerrilla Translation was created to share ideas between communities and to allow translation, which has become heavily corporatised, to share the values inherent in collaborative art and creativity.

Guerrilla Translation is about sharing ideas internationally and fulfilling a more generous idea of what globalization could be. Rather than accepting the term “globalization” to mean the wholesale character-stripping and homogenization of cultures, we are re envisioning the term by creating a platform for opening dialogues, in effect “globalizing” communication and sharing.

The pain in Spain

Guerrilla Translation, although international in scope, was founded in Spain in the midst of a significant era. The time and location of its emergence has had a decisive influence on the goals of the project. The dire situation in Spain, ironically, gives us the freedom to see our circumstances as a laboratory to experiment with new ideas. A lot of very valuable and interesting concepts are coming out of the English-speaking world, where the same systemic crises, so apparent in our backyard, perhaps have yet to manifest themselves as vehemently or pervasively in the general public consciousness.

Yet the crises lurk, and are being identified and re-defined with a breadth of perspective that we find very hard to reproduce in Spain. Solutions are drawn, ideologies are shared, and observations compared, but usually among the choir and only occasionally beyond. We wonder if the majority of these ideas will be lost in the wind in the English-speaking world, while they could be more immediately useful here, on the ground. What keeps these ideas from being more widely considered, discussed or implemented is that they haven’t been translated and made available.

There’s a reverse process too, because here in Spain, there are really good ideas that seem to have enjoyed more back-and-forth sharing with English-speaking countries (eg. 15M – Occupy), but these incidences of sharing were dependent on happenstance. The crisis is a killer, but also a muse. We aim to make the muses be understood, regardless of language.

A different translation agency

How does all this compare with the typical raison d’être of a translation agency? We’re quite different, actually, as we straddle the lines between agency, non-profit and co-op.

A traditional translation agency exists primarily to make a profit, where the language adaptation of source material carries a specific sort of value – financial – regardless of whether sharing the translated material will have any social value. Obviously, it is not a given that this material will be freely shared for anyone to access.

Guerrilla Translation aims to create value by virtue of connection.

Why “Guerrilla”? Because “Guerrilla” and “P2P” imply partnership and participation. The end result of our work is not a product to be pushed, paid for and forgotten. If a translator is working in our collective, it’s a given that they’re on board with the subjects we approach, as part of the audience. This enthusiasm naturally leads to promoting the work, and to suggesting other projects. As the term “Guerrilla” also implies, our tactics as translators include adaptability, mobility, diversity, integrity, and working for a beneficial cause. Being a P2P service, and using the technology available today, we enjoy both the lack of urgent, money-driven deadlines and the tools to complete work quickly and accurately.

Guerrilla Translation seeks out its partnerships (rather than “clients”) based on qualitative and socially relevant criteria, and encourages being approached in the same way — in other words, if you have something of value you’d like to share and would like us to consider, please get in touch.

And we aim to bypass the middleman from start to finish. We are committed to transmitting material and cultivating channels of communication between author and audience, including curation of content. All work is done in-house, and the results are shared freely and universally.”

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