Because It Feels Good

I feel honored to be invited to talk about Global Voices, especially Project Lingua, several times before. One recurring question from the audience is: “Why are you doing GV/Lingua?” I spend much of my time on Lingua currently, even more than my life-earning translation jobs, which I shouldn’t, in fact. People are encouraging, but I can still see some confusions on their faces, including my mom sometimes. She loves me, but she is worried I spend too much time in front of computer.

During the GV Budapest summit in June 2008, many people have mentioned the importance of connecting GV authors and Lingua translators in differently ways. After that, I decided to start the Lingua digest with little consultations from other members in the community. Some members question its values to outsiders, but in fact I didn’t think about them when I started.

After one month of digest, I send individual emails to each author whose works have been translated by Lingua in July. Authors seem to be amazed to receive the letter. Many of them reply with a grateful note. David, our Rising Voices Director, even turns it into a blog post. Amira, GV MENA editor and manager of Voices Without Votes, says in her email: “I don’t know how you managed to do that (sending email to each author).” To tell the truth, I do that one by one, typing email address, copying and pasting the translation list, and press the “send” button. This month, 63 times.

People keep asking, “why are you doing this?” The reason is simple: because it feels good. Thanks to internet, we can now publish and communicate online. However, I still love human connections. If sending emails can create connections, I will be more than willing to do that. If no environmental concerns, traditional posts with ink, paper and stamps sound even better to me. Why am I always talking about Global Voices? Because working with it feels good. It’s the compilation of hundreds of good wills. Translations help spread the good will.

Doing digest and sending monthly emails are asking for recognitions to these translators. As a professional translator, I am used to being invisible, but these volunteer translators may need some kinds of recognitions from the public, readers or authors as incentives. I hope they feel good when seeing their names on the digest.

As to sending emails to authors one by one, I tend to feel better when I receive a personal letter, rather than group mails like spams. I assume they feel the same. Fortunately, they do. It feels good.

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7 responses to “Because It Feels Good

  1. Nowadays I’m translating very little because I’m more involved with writing, but I can assure you that it feels really good to see your translation reports every day in my mailbox! -and by the way, my mom has similar concerns than yours 🙂

  2. Thank you! Your writings provide great materials for readers and translators! I am amazed by your wide coverage. How do you manage to do that?!

  3. You bring a smile to my face Leo. You are 100% right. Adding that human touch and acknowledging the fact that there is a human being at the other end of the line is essential. Translators whose work makes sense and translations which put conversations in perspective makes the stories we share real. At GV, Lingua’s translators are the seams, which connect this project and hold it together. Thank you Leo for your amazing energy and lovely touching gestures. They mean a lot 🙂
    Keep up the good work!
    And do me a favour and treat your mum to something really nice.

  4. Pingback: El Oso » Archive » Don’t Read This, Take a Walk in the Park

  5. I think that I was in shock when I received that email from you, as I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that it must have taken on your part to send out individual emails to everyone. I’m impressed! And by the way….it feels good to receive those emails as well…

  6. Thank you! It’s good to know people really feel good when receiving those emails. 🙂 Deb’s daily digest also reminds us what can be translated each day. Well done!

  7. I thought it was some fancy computer program that automatically generated those reports 😛 Not really…. 😉 We are very appreciative of your personal touch.

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