Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kiva's Annual Marathon Boasts Great Food, Great Loans

Edited by Daniel Hinds, Review and Translation Program Intern

Naomi (Kiva Senior Director, Global Partner Operations) catches up with long-time volunteers Dan and Connie (Baobab). Photo credit: Lindsay Monnet.

Did you know that a group of almost 300 dedicated volunteers review every loan before it is posted to In fact, every loan description on the Kiva website is carefully edited or translated by one of these volunteers to ensure an accurate borrower profile, and to ensure a positive experience for Kiva borrowers and lenders alike.

Each year, there is a peak of interest in lending on Kiva’s website around the holiday season. To prepare for this peak, Kiva’s Volunteer Editors and Translators pull out all the stops to get Kiva borrowers onto the website and ready for funding, culminating in the annual Kiva Editing and Translation Marathon. This is an event that offers everything from delicious, locally-sourced food to great company and fulfilling work.

This year’s Kiva Editing and Translation Marathon was a huge success and a great opportunity for members of the Kiva community to come together and share their stories and experiences.

In its fourth year, the marathon brought together a total of around 50 Kiva volunteers and staff in person and online. At the gathering at Kiva HQ, in between editing and translating, talking about puzzling terms and interesting profiles, and eating and drinking, Kiva staff and volunteers shared many memories.

Dara engages with Kiva intern Emily and fellow volunteer Tracy, while Marty edges closer to 1,000 translations. Photo credit: Daniel Hinds.

Marathon Highlights
  • Participants from the San Francisco and Seattle marathons were all represented, in addition to all the remote Skype participants who logged in from across the US and Canada.

  • We were impressed to see translators and editors in later time zones attend the chat for an hour or two. A special thanks to these people for staying up late to attend the marathon!

  • There were many highlights from the Skype chat:

    • We found out that the Spanish term arepas means "a flat, round, unleavened patty made of cornmeal or flour which can be grilled, baked, boiled, or fried," and that a boubou in French refers to a large, sleeved robe worn by men in West Africa.
    • The French expression vendu en famille had the translators scratching their heads. Tamara K. and Team Leader Véronique F., both in the Kiva San Francisco office, came to the rescue and found the answer on the Volunteer Forum; "en famille" means "from the person's house," and is equivalent to the French "en domicile.

    Team Leaders Kent and Véronique pose with past Volunteers of the Month, Marty and Connie. Photo credit: Patricia Wada.

  • And from the Kiva San Francisco Office marathon:

    • An impressive turnout of 25 or so Kiva staff who came out to support and meet the volunteers, as well as try their hand at translating and editing
    • Delicious snacks like empanadas, hot spiced cider, mini-cupcakes and various dips and chips provided by the Volunteer Coordinators
    • Empanadas from El Empanadero Factory, run by Kiva borrower Julio and recommended by Kiva Volunteer Dan K.
    • Cupcakes from a multi-talented Kiva staff member at Christina Marie Pastries
    • The new Kiva Headquarters on Howard Street!

Skype chat highlights compiled by Lindsay Monnet. Additional highlights contributed by Daniel Hinds and Lindsay Monnet, Review and Translation Program Interns.