Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kiva's Review and Translation Program volunteers rock!

The Kiva Review and Translation Program is an essential link in the chain that connects lenders and borrowers. Nearly 400 volunteers across 32 countries edit and translate an average of over 11,000 loans a month from our Field Partners in order for loans to appear as they do in English on the Kiva website. 

English editors and Spanish, French, Portuguese and Russian translators preserve the tone and meaning of borrower descriptions while also acting as the final set of eyes that check for inconsistencies before a loan gets posted for funding. 

Since 2008, the Review and Translation Program has held its annual Holiday Editing and Translation Marathon on an evening in December to gear up for the season when many lenders, new and old, come to Kiva to make a loan. 

For the staff and interns involved with the Review and Translation Program, the marathon is an event we look forward to because it's a time when we can work through reviewing loans together and talk with our volunteers in real time. This year was no different. The 5th annual marathon was held at Kiva headquarters in San Francisco on December 4, 2012, and it was a huge success!

Volunteers and staff review loans at the Holiday Marathon. 

We connected with volunteers via online chat in Canada, Mexico, Australia and all across the U.S. -- from Maine to Texas -- making it a true international affair. This year, an impressive 572 loans were reviewed on marathon day. That included 298 English, 205 Spanish, 38 French and 31 Russian loans. Volunteers who live in the San Francisco Bay Area joined us in the office, and many volunteers joined us from the comfort of their own homes despite vast time differences. 

Volunteers and staff connect with remote marathon participants via Google Hangout. 

In the office, we were fueled by tasty empanadas from Julio of El Empanadero, mini cupcakes from our very own Christina Marie, and homemade cookies from Cafeto, one of Kiva Zip’s first borrowers and a true success story. If only we could have shared the food through the computer screen with everyone involved in the marathon! 

The beauty of the Review and Translation Program is, of course, our volunteers. They help each other hash out the meanings of unknown words, they give each other second opinions on loans that may be missing crucial information, and they share successes like when one has translated his or her 1,000th loan. Their dedication to Kiva and to bringing the voices of our borrowers to our lenders is inspiring, and we thank them for all that they do.

To learn more about the program, click here. Please know that there is a wait list to become a volunteer editor or translator at the moment, but we do plan to bring on more volunteers next year. Sign up today if you are interested!

Photos taken by Katie Miura.