5 Reasons to Volunteer as a Translator

Mar 15, 2019

Volunteerism. It crosses all businesses, for-profit and not-for-profit. Retired business executives volunteer their services to young entrepreneurs; educators work with dis-advantaged children on the weekends; athletes volunteer their time to work with urban sports teams and at boys’ and girls’ clubs. And college grads who cannot find a job in their career fields often volunteer in those fields until something opens up.

Volunteer translation work is an area for students or adults who speak at least two languages fluently. It’s a highly specialized field for volunteerism and can certainly be a valuable one for both the recipients of the work and for the translation volunteer himself.

So, let’s take a look at translation volunteer opportunities and the reasons why you should want to do this.

Translation Volunteer Opportunities

If you are looking for opportunities, there is no lack of them. Here are just a few:

  1. International students often struggle with language when they arrive in your country. Go to campus international clubs and organizations and offer your services.

  2. New immigrants have trouble navigating all of the “red tape” of becoming residents in a foreign land. There are a number of community organizations that provide help and services to them. Be one of those helpers.

  3. There are citizenship education courses offered in at least every major city. These are government-funded for the most part, but there is always a need for volunteers to provide the help that such funding does not.

  4. There are events all over the world which international audiences attend. Volunteering translation services will provide needed assistance to attendees, as they navigate through an unfamiliar city and the details of accommodations.

So, what’s in it for you? Read on.

The 5 Benefits of Work as a Volunteer Translator

There are both personal and career benefits for volunteer translators. Here are five of them:

  1. On a personal level, we humans have a need to feel that we are contributing in some way, especially to those who are less fortunate than us. And less fortunate does not always mean financially. Those who are struggling with language and assimilation are less fortunate than a bilingual individual who is navigating well in society. When you commit to helping such individuals, you satisfy a psychological need to make life better for others.

  2. You make contacts. In the course of volunteering, you will meet other volunteers in your career field, as well as actual employees and supervisors in those organizations. New employment opportunities may open up for you as a result.

  3. You could have some amazing experiences. Suppose an organization such as the X-Games is in need of volunteers who are at least bilingual. This is a real possibility, because the organization seeks volunteers at its events twice a year. If you are accepted as a volunteer, you will travel free to wherever that event occurs, will have free housing and food, and will have the chance to be a spectator in an amazing extreme sports event. This is just one example of such events that are held all over the world. How many other volunteers could have such opportunities?

  4. You have flexibility. You may have a full-time job, but your non-work time is totally your own. You can do as much or as little as you want and set your own schedule. And you have lots of choices for that volunteer work. If one doesn’t suit you, you can move on to another opportunity.

  5. It looks great on your resume. When you look for a change in your position or career, especially if that change is in the translation industry in some form, you have that relevant volunteer experience to include. It can often make the difference between you and another candidate.

So, there you have it. Five reasons why you should pursue volunteerism in translation. These are strong benefits and should not be ignored.