1. Interpreting Adventures with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill Gates is a global figure who has changed the world once and is busy doing it a second time together with his wife Melinda. Read more about my interpreting experience and adventures with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I guess Bill & Melinda Gates is one couple that doesn’t need introduction. Yes I have worked with them, never mind that they are now divorced.
Bill Gates is a global figure who has changed the world once and is busy doing it a second time together with his wife Melinda. Together, they are making a huge difference through their foundation. In the words of their 2011 annual report, ‘we’re now balancing more than two dozen initiatives in health, development, and U.S. education. The growth is important; it lets us accomplish more together with our partners.’
Nguruman was the location that was hosting a delegation from this foundation and I was right there with them, interpreting for them. Nguruman is a rustic Maasai town that is surrounded by a vast land that is dotted with traditional Maasai houses. Like Rome and Kigali, it is surrounded by hills. But unlike these two cities, it oozes freshness and chirping birds.
After Nguruman, we travelled to the coastal part of Kenya, where my interpretation work continued, amongst the coastal people. Swahili was born at the coast of Kenya, so am always thrilled to visit there. It gave me great joy to dramatically inform the foundation team during a lunch hour break that they were in the region that had given the world the amazing gift of Swahili.
We had a great five days together and I thoroughly enjoyed the interpretation work.
2. Translating Adventures with The Cancer Board
Have you ever heard of the Union of International Cancer Control? If you haven’t heard of them, then let me be the first one to tell you about this incredible organization. Their slogan is ‘global cancer control’ and they have 770 member organizations from 155 countries! Tell me how many organizations have such a truly global presence? Not many.
Tragically, cancer seems to be on the rise these days. Maybe you have lost a loved one through cancer. It’s sad. Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by cancer. This is why the work that UICC does is so important. I kept thinking about it as I translated and proofread about 50,000 words within 30 days. The content was about Cancer types and its control measures.
It wasn’t easy work. Sometimes, I could spend 5 hours on 1 page with technical terms but I eventually pulled through. Such work is highly rewarding because it takes on a life of its own when you are doing it. In other words, it pulls or pushes you along. You get caught in its beautiful whirlwind. Kudos UICC for the great work you are doing.
3. Translating Adventures with Microsoft
When Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975, they could not have known that they had just taken the first step in a historic computing journey that would change the world. At the time, Bill Gates had dropped out of Harvard University and was just a wide-eyed twenty year old young man with a deep passion for computing. Eighteen years later in 1993, when Gates was only thirty eight years old, he became the richest man in the world after guiding Microsoft to the very top of the computer age.
In this year when Bill Gates rose to the top of the world, I was also a wide-eyed twelve year old in the seventh year of my primary school. Seventeen years later in 2010, I following in the historic footsteps of Bill Gates when I translated the Microsoft Windows 7 from English to Swahili. It was a dream come true for me when I was given this enormous task of translating for such an amazing company. The dream soon turned to sleepless nights when my team and I burned the midnight oil for months, translating more than one million words!
When I finally completed this extraordinary translation work, I was left with one hundred reasons to smile ecstatically!
4. Translating Adventures with Google
Larry Page and Sergey Brin. These two gentlemen have always been role models of mine. Like billions of other human beings, I had always used google but had no idea that the two geniuses behind it were just some young folks who had been born less than ten years before my own birth. Can you believe that they founded this amazing company in 1998 when they were still in their twenties! Wow! Power to the young people indeed.
It was with a humble, proud and very grateful heart that I said got a great deal to translate more than two hundred thousand words for google. Yap. You got that right – an assignment of translating more than two hundred thousand words for google. How cool is that! A big translation job for one of the coolest companies on earth!
I felt proud of myself that I am part of the Google revolution of injecting Swahili into the Google tools and platforms. Quite challenging as they would send tasks daily to be done and delivered for them to update their online tools and programs.
5. Translating Adventures with Nokia
My first phone was a Nokia. Nokia 3310 to be precise. By the time I was owning it, other smaller Nokias had already flooded the market, so it wasn’t particularly cool to be spotted with the big Nokia 3310. People even had a nickname for it – big daddy. But I didn’t give a hoot. I was just thrilled to finally be a part of the mobile telephony world. What a world! A world where you could just punch in some numbers and somebody somewhere will hear their phone ring and talk to you!
Just a few short years after I first called a Nokia phone my very own, I was privileged to call Nokia translation work my very own. For 20 days, I woke up with the roosters and slept with the giraffes (giraffes only sleep for about 30 minutes on any given day). After these 20 days, I had successfully translated 20,000 words from English to Swahili.
This particular translation helped me to refresh myself on the LQ checks and use of some review and check tools I had not used for some time.
6. Translating Adventures with Médecins Sans Frontières
These days, I always utter the words, ‘Médecins Sans Frontières’ with a proud French accent. It was established by French doctors in 1971 by French doctors who had experienced the horror of Nigeria’s Biafra war in the late 1960s. To be honest, I didn’t know much about MSF until a couple of year ago, when the Haiti earthquake struck.
I saw how MSF was actively involved and when I dug deeper, was struck by how it employs the full gamut of professionalism in humanitarian action all over the world. For me, it is the epitome of a professionally run humanitarian organization. If you try and remove MSF from all the places where it is in the world, the resultant gap is too grave to imagine. I shudder at the thought.
I have recently been honored to undertake translation work for MSF. This involved Translation and Proofreading of about 6, 000 words within 7 days during the just past Christmas festivity. The content was about MSF and its history in Kenya with some information on several diseases prevalent in this region.
This project was a lot of fun even though it had some style sheet related challenges. But in the end, we managed to reconcile our respective style sheets and come up with quality translation. It was quite rewarding to handle this assignment because of the admiration that I had for MSF’s work over the years. There is something special about an organization that seeks to alleviate human suffering and does so consistently.