Simple English Comes to Wikipedia for Translators Without Borders

I know, here I am writing about Translators Without Borders again. I can’t help it. They are doing such important work in the world. As a content-development firm that has been around for 17+ years, we have been impacted by the global recession like many of our peers. Our clients are under pressure to control costs and they in turn put pressure on us to do more with less. Still, to the extent we are in a position to help others, I encourage both my employees and contractors to contribute to the world by volunteering their time and energies to worthwhile pro bono projects, particularly those that impact the Third World.

This year, I’m delighted to put the considerable energies of Content Rules, Inc. behind a pro bono content development project we will be doing in conjunction with Translators Without Borders. Lori Thicke, CEO of Translators without Borders, contacted me to ask if Content Rules could help simplify about 85 Wikipedia files using our know-how in global readiness and pivot languages, working on a pro bono basis. The simplified files will be posted on Simple English Wikipedia, which in turn will enable the pages to be translated into many languages for people around the world (mainly in Africa). Simple English Wikipedia is a Wikipedia site that is focused on providing information to people using simple English words, structures, and grammar.

Of course, I told Lori that we’d be delighted to help Translators without Borders with this project on a pro bono basis, and would get both our employees and contractors involved. (This type of project is right up our power alley … as it draws upon our skills in creating content that is global-ready, to reduce the cost and complexity of localizing that content into multiple languages.)

I am of the opinion that ALL of Wikipedia should be written using simple English words, structures and grammar. But, that’s just me. Many writers on Wikipedia do not subscribe to simple English. That’s another story for another day. I am happy to see a Wikipedia site that is conscientious about their English usage.

I have put out word to a group of editors and writer who have expressed an interest in simple English. I have heard back from a number who are eager to help. We are now waiting for the first batch of files to be uploaded so that we can work on them.

I will keep you updated on our progress with this project over time. Thanks to everyone who volunteers for Translators Without Borders. Together we can make a difference in the world through contributing to this and other pro bono projects.

Val Swisher
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