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I am a Filipino Translator for Global Voices

"It's not the words that requires translation, but the soul or 'diwa' of the article."

I am a Filipino Translator for Global Voices
Photo by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo / Unsplash

One thing that I have kept to myself is that I applied for a translator job in Global Voices - Filipino. I was not paid or anything - I just want to translate articles written in English to Filipino.

I first heard about Global Voices back in 2009. I was still blogging on my old blog back then and I wrote an article about a local telco's marketing campaign which plays on the concept of a tech-savvy grandmother, aptly named as Lola Techie. I shared my insights on how I can relate the concept with my mother, who doesn't like to dive deep into the world of technology (although she's been deep in YouTube these days).

I noticed that I got a ping back (meaning, someone linked to that article that I wrote) from another site, which was a round-up article of every blogger's thoughts on Lola Techie, which included my article. I got this fake feeling of being famous just because I was quoted on another website.

I forgot the details of how I became a translator - I just know that I applied for it. The first article that I translated was about the proliferation of television ads for the then upcoming presidential elections in the Philippines. For the most part, translating the sentences from English to Filipino is easy - sometimes I had to re-arrange the phrases to make more sense of the message, rather than translate it word for word. The only challenge for me is there are words which are more confusing if translated to Filipino (i.e. political advertisements - pampulitikong patalastas) so I would sometimes leave them as is. The good thing with the Philippines is that it's mostly an English-speaking country, so it's not the words that requires translation, but the soul or "diwa" of the article.

Pilipinas: TV Ads para sa mga Kandidato sa Pagkapangulo
Nagsimula na ang kapanahunan ng halalan sa Pilipinas. Tignan mo ang mga TV ads ng mga kakandidato sa pagkapangulo na nakaupload sa Youtube.
My first Global Voices article

I eventually translated the Lola Techie article in Filipino that pulled me to Global Voices.

Pilipinas: Ang Lolang Marunong sa Internet
Masyadong popular nitong mga araw si “Lola Techie” sa Pilipinas. Ang salitang “Lola” ang katumbas sa wikang Filipino ng salitang “grandmother”. Si “Lola Techie” ang pinakasentro ng marketing campaign ng isang kumpanya ng telekomunikasyon sa Pilipinas, na gumaganap sa papel bilang isang Lola na marun…

I translated over 20 articles in the span of four years (not that much, if you think about it) until 2012. I forgot about it, because while it was fun translating articles, I got more curious on my job which pays. And oddly enough, today I learned that my account is still working and immediately I translated one article, again about the protests held in respond to the 2022 Philippine presidential election results.

Pilipinas: Pumutok ang mga protesta habang ang anak ng dating diktador ay nangunguna sa bilang ng pampanguluhang halalan
“Mahirap magtiwala sa halalan na puno nang mga ulat ng mga pagpalya o pagkasira ng mga makina”

Ironic that my first article was about the 2010 PH Presidential Elections, and my comeback article was about the same subject, only twelve years later.

I consider this as a volunteer work that I never shared with anyone at all. I have not been paid for any of the translation work that I have done. But despite all that, I still enjoyed doing it. Maybe I will write a translation once or twice a week. That will keep it alive I think.

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Jamie Larson