You are interested to join one of our Cochrane Review translation projects? - That's fantastic! Read below about what to expect as volunteer translator.
You can also read more general information about translation at Cochrane.
Which languages do we translate into?
We currently translate Cochrane Reviews on a regular basis into Chinese (simplified and traditional), Croatian, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Tamil and Thai. Not all of these languages are looking for volunteers. If your language is not included yet, keep reading to learn what else you can do.
Why do we translate into some languages, but not others?
Review translation projects require a lot of resources. If we don’t translate into your language, then that’s usually because there are no resources, and no one has come forward yet who can initiate a project.
What do we translate?
Volunteer translators usually translate plain language summaries, and sometimes also abstracts, of Cochrane Reviews from English into their native language. Learn more about Cochrane Evidence.
Can you choose what you want to translate?
In most translation projects, volunteers can choose which Cochrane Reviews or topics they want to translate. Project managers may propose topics or set certain criteria, for example, to select Reviews that were published in the past 12 months.
How does the translation process work?
We use Memsource, a third party translation management system, which we make freely available to our translators. Volunteer translators are expected to use Memsource and to agree to our translator terms. Project managers and experienced volunteers work as editors and will review your work before it is published. They will provide you with instructions and supporting materials. You can also contact them if you have questions or if you need advice.
How much time do you need to invest, and how quickly do you need to complete a translation?
We don't have any rules about how much time you have to invest, and how quickly you have to complete a translation. To give a general idea, one plain language summary translation will take 2-6 hours to complete, depending on the length and difficulty. We appreciate if volunteers are willing to translate at least 6-12 plain language summaries per year, and complete an assigned translation within 2-4 weeks. You will need to learn how to use Memsource, and apply standard terminology and guidance for your language, so it is not very efficient if you sign up and then realise that it's really not the right thing for you, or that you don't have enough time. But we do understand that this may happen, and that sometimes other things come up!
Do you need any specific experience?
We expect you to be a native speaker of the language you want to translate into, and are asking you to do a test translation when you first sign up. Any experience in health, translation, writing or editing is an advantage, and some kind of Cochrane training or experience is highly valuable, but in principle, anyone willing to lend their time and skills is welcome. If you are new to Cochrane and evidence-based medicine, please do consider completing the freely available Evidence Essentials training as an introduction.
Please note that our translation project managers periodically review the quota of volunteers for their language in view of their priorities and capacity. They may decide to remove volunteer translators from their team if the translator is no longer active, or as a result of changes to their translation strategy. We will always contact you to explain in such cases.
What is in it for you?
Our volunteers usually see it as a personal reward to contribute to Cochrane, because they believe in what we do and want to be part of our organisation. Contributing as a translator can also be a learning experience and equip you with new skills. We cannot offer payment to our volunteers, but:
- Your name will appear with your published translations to acknowledge your contribution.
- We can provide certificates and references, once you have translated a certain amount.
- Translators can get full, free access to all Cochrane Interactive Learning modules.
- As part of Cochrane's membership scheme, translators who contribute regularly can become active members of Cochrane.
How do you join?
What can you do if we don't translate into your language at the moment?
Please take a look at TaskExchange, where Cochrane contributors post translation tasks in a variety of languages, as well as other tasks related to Cochrane Review production. Consider joining our translation mailing list to stay up-to-date with translation news and opportunities to get involved in other languages in the future.