DANBURY, CT USA and DUBLIN, IRELAND 15 June 2017. Translators without Borders (TWB) and The Rosetta Foundation (TRF) have agreed to merge operations. The merger, announced today at Localization World Barcelona, brings together the two leading non-profit organizations focused on better access to information in languages people understand.
In the past five years, and especially since the devastating outbreak of Ebola in 2014-15, there has been a greater awareness that language is a critical part of humanitarian response and development work. TWB and TRF have responded by building technologies and communities of translators to ensure non-profit organizations have access to high quality local language resources. Additionally, TWB has developed its Words of Relief crisis response service, which has been active in a number of major crises, including the Ebola outbreak, Nepal earthquake and the European refugee crisis.
“We have all seen time and again, for example recently during the refugee crisis in Greece, how information can save and transform lives. For information to be effective it needs to be in local languages,” said Andrew Bredenkamp, board chair of TWB and member of the TRF board. “The need for local language information is huge, urgent, and growing fast – this merger will give us greater scalability and a stronger platform for advocacy to help meet this need.”
With this merger, the organizations will increase efficiencies and ensure that both entities continue to offer high quality language services to the aid community and the affected populations they serve.
Aimee Ansari, executive director of TWB and Olga Blasco, TRF executive for the past 1.5 years, worked together to complete the deal, backed by the boards of both organizations. Olga has said, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with Aimee, a veteran of the humanitarian sector who truly understands the importance of language. Over the coming months, we will work together with the TWB and TRF teams to merge operations as required to meet our strategic goals and, most importantly, to strengthen outreach and processes for our highly motivated translator communities.” Olga will be relinquishing her role as executive to become a new TRF board member.
TRF works with translators through the Trommons platform, developed by the Localisation Research Centre at the University of Limerick and exclusively licensed to TRF, who have open-sourced it. TWB has been operating on the ProZ.com powered translation center, which it has recently complemented with state-of-the-art open-source translation technology and CRM functionality to build its unique Kató translation platform. For now, services to partners will continue as normal on both platforms, while some administrative tasks will be merged.
TWB was founded as a United States non-profit in 2010 by Lori Thicke. TRF was founded by Reinhard Schäler during the Action for Global Information Sharing (AGIS) conference in Limerick in 2009. Further details will be communicated to the organizations’ communities over the next six months. Additionally, the organizations have jointly created an FAQ (see below); specific questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
About Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting non-profit organizations with a professional community of translators, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), and with one office now in Kenya, TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information a year. In 2013, TWB created the first-ever crisis relief translation service, Words of Relief, which has responded to crises every year since.
About The Rosetta Foundation
Since 2009, The Rosetta Foundation (TRF) has worked to eradicate the knowledge gap based on linguistic discrimination. The organization’s mission is to promote equal access to information to as many underserved communities as possible across the languages of the world in order to relieve poverty, support healthcare, develop education and promote justice. TRF connects 15,000+ volunteer translators from 160 countries, through the Trommons crowdsourcing platform, with 300+ non profit organizations worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are the two organisations merging?
With this merger, the organisations will increase efficiencies and ensure that both organisations continue to offer high quality language services to the aid community. This merger allows for expansion of the services and products offered; ultimately with the ability to better serve the missions. More specifically, the merger gives Translators without Borders (TWB) access to The Rosetta Foundation’s community model and technology. It also gives TWB access to EU funding through the Irish registration. For Rosetta, the merger brings greater professionalization, sustainability and access to a broader partner audience.
Who is Translators without Borders?
Translators without Borders (TWB) is a non-profit organisation (501 (c ) 3) based in Danbury, Connecticut, USA. It includes TWB Kenya, which has an office in Nairobi, Kenya.
What is TWB’s Mission?
Translators without Borders’ mission is simple: To provide people access to vital knowledge in their language. The TWB mission operates under the belief that communication is aid, but only if delivered in the right languages. The objectives of the organisation, as well as the TWB board’s philosophy, are similar to TRF. With complementary strategic goals, integration of the two organisations will be fairly easy.
What does TWB do?
Translators without Borders provides language services to non-profit partners in the areas of humanitarian response and development, with an emphasis on education, health, and human rights. TWB’s foundational work is in translation, offering professional translations to partners, which improves how they communicate with their communities and constituents. Additionally, TWB has developed specialised services, especially through its Words of Relief crisis relief language service, including training, interpreting, and development of language tools to improve communications in a crisis.
Will TWB become TRF or vice versa?
At this time, the two organisation names will remain. Branding and positioning changes will be made over the next year.
When will the merger be completed?
Officially, the merger will be completed following board meetings and the development of a new TRF board, expected by the end of June 2017. For practical purposes, the TWB team has already begun assisting with TRF operations. The merger was announced publicly on 15 June 2017.
Are the Founders on the Board? Do you have a joint Board?
The founders are not on either board anymore. The boards will not be joint; there are separate boards for each organisation. TRF will have a new board with the merger; Andrew Bredenkamp, board chair of TWB, is a member of both boards to ensure strategic synergy.
Not in the near future. TWB’s head of technology, Mirko Plitt, with support from Dr Alan Barrett, who is currently the technologist and developer at Trommons, will evaluate the way forward over the next six to 12 months.
Will the leadership teams change?
There are no changes in the TWB leadership team at this time. Olga Blasco of TRF will become a TRF board member on the new TRF board.
How does this merger impact partners?
At this time, there will be no change to TRF or TWB partners. Potential new partners will register through the TWB process; the application can be found here. Over time, partners will see efficiencies in technology and in community availability that will improve services.
How does this merger impact sponsors?
For now, sponsors will continue to sponsor the organisation they wish to sponsor. Separate accounts and bookkeeping will be maintained.
I plan to organize a fundraiser for TWB/TRF, where will the funds raised go?
The funds will go toward whichever organisation you choose.
Should partners currently negotiating a partnership with TWB hold off until they know more about what the merger means?
There will be no change in TWB’s partnership arrangements.
If I am a translator with TRF, can I also volunteer for TWB?
Yes, that is entirely possible and encouraged.
Who should I contact with a concern/query?
Queries can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and will be answered as quickly as possible.