Dance Partners

Dance Partners © 2013, Reuben Radding

Aside from the pro-bono work featured in this website, Guerrilla Translation is also a Commons and P2P-oriented translation agency, working with a variety of partners and clients to facilitate communications at all levels. Please read through the links below to find out more about us and our services.

How we approach our work

As translators and editors with a variety of backgrounds, dedicated to a professionalism that matches our passion, we work hard and love what we do. All our work is done manually, that is, we do not use computer assisted translation (CAT) tools. We understand the justification others have for using translation software, but we choose not to use it ourselves. Working on unrealistic deadlines, on material that is neither inspiring nor motivating – this may be the appropriate environment for CAT tools. Automating for efficiency is the result of the perceived need, in most businesses, to always get work done faster, not better. Or worse, to assume that tech-driven efficiency also guarantees superior quality work; that software makes everything better by its nature, eliminating human error and producing something invariably correct. But words aren’t numbers, and languages are living things. Our opinion is that the final result of translations executed by software feels different, lacking in nuance and the sense of human connection found in the original language. That is, as long as the original wasn’t a toaster manual.

What we do is different, it’s a bit like the slow-food movement. The material we work on, whether self-selected (pro-bono) or contracted (paid), is handled in a way that we feel respects the effort made by the author or client, ultimately reflecting the inspiration and freshness of the original piece. Technology may be the means through which we share our communication, but ultimately the relationship formed through that transmission is a human one. It was a human who wrote the original, and a human who will read the translated result. We believe that our method – pairing two brains (translator, editor), each familiar with the material and invested in seeing it translated – beats any software program. We know of no better or more trustworthy translation tool than the human mind – along with experience and dictionaries, of course. Back to top

Our Method

While our approach to translation is decidedly old school, we are a decentralized group working independently, and so we organize ourselves and our work using very “new school” methods including online organizational tools to manage workflow and communicate with other team members. Each translated piece is reviewed side-by-side with the original by the translator, an editor and a proofreader (triply checked). We work closely with authors and clients to ensure the greatest fidelity to the original language and intention. All in all, our level of commitment reflects our level of engagement with the topics themselves. Back to top

Our Subjects

We are committed to cultivating channels of communication between authors and new readers, as well as between clients (foundations, initiatives, and other types of enterprises) and their new members and audiences. We are often quite familiar with the relevant vocabulary, as many of our members have been involved in various collectives (P2P Foundation, Ouishare, Sharing Cities Network, The Post-Growth Institute, Positive Money, Guanyem, Podemos, Cooperativa Integral Catalana, to name a few), and have worked on a wide variety of related topics. In some cases, we even are helping co-create the emerging specific language used, both in the original language and the target language, for certain topics (for instance, “the commons”). Back to top

How our model helps – All around

We do two things: pro-bono translation, and paid translation – but it’s pretty much the same thing. It’s all by the same team, using the same methods, working collectively and sharing both the work and the eventual rewards. Let us explain, you’ll probably find this interesting.

Pro-bono translations are ones we elect to do ourselves based on our enthusiasm for the original pieces and that they fit our criteria. But the fact that we have selected work for ourselves to do does not make us unpaid volunteers, because of our innovative business model. For us, a pro-bono or a paid translation has the same value – literally. We assign a cost value for all work we do, whether it’s a self-selected pro-bono piece for publication on our blog, or work contracted for a client. Our model of income distribution diverts a portion of every paid/contracted job towards fulfilling the value of the pro-bono work done by our members. This has several functions, which we think you will appreciate. First, internally, it allows all members of the collective to gain some income from everything they do, whether pro-bono, paid/contracted or even managerial/administrative work (also valued). Collective members are not placed in the position of competing among themselves for paid work, nor for the “best” paid work as evaluated by the per-word rate. All work is valued internally at the same rate, regardless of the external price.

On that note, we have several pricing tiers for our clients. There’s a pay-it-forward spirit involved here, but it’s more like pay-it-backward-and-forward. Clients with the greatest financial means and which also feel attracted to and aligned with our principles will offered the top tier rate – this is still quite competitive, in fact at the lower end of typical translation pricing. There will be a penny or two per word that this level of client will be paying toward the “pro-bono” work already performed by GT members, as well as towards any jobs we accept for clients with minimal or bare-bones budgets (including small co-ops, activist collectives, non-VC startups, and others). This is so that we can establish relationships and help support collectives and initiatives with the least financial means, yet who are still able to pay something fair in return for our services. Back to top

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Services we offer

  • Written translation (ENG/ES)

  • Direct Editing (editing in original language, no translation)

  • Transcription

  • A / V adaptation

  • Subtitling and dubbing

  • Website translation and localization

  • Simultaneous interpretation

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Our source materials include:

  • Articles and Essays

  • Full-text Books

  • Audio – interviews, presentations, podcasts, radio

  • Video and Film

  • Websites

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Our clients include

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Our authors

Please visit our Testimonials Page, to see what some of these authors have to say about Guerrilla Translation

  • David Graeber

  • David Bollier

  • Naomi Klein

  • Michel Bauwens

  • Douglas Rushkoff

  • Dmytri Kleiner

  • Steve Lambert

  • Robert Jensen

  • Gabriella Coleman

  • Charles Eisenstein

  • Katie Teague

  • Henia Belalia






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