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Published:
2019-12-12 10:46:00 -0500
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Anhaita, who volunteers with the Translation Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As a volunteer, I'm part of the Translation Committee. Our main objective is making the site and its content available in different languages for easy accessibility and understanding to all those whose first language isn't English. We help in cross lingual communications with other Committees as well! (Support and Abuse, for example).

Translation is also subdivided into smaller language teams, so no matter what language you wish to communicate in, we most likely have someone to make sure the message gets interpreted correctly. As the OTW is geared towards fans from various communities and cultures, our goal is to make sure people can access our website in languages they feel comfortable with.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

As I'm part of a very small team (literally, it's just two of us here), we mainly have a large number of documents to sort through and translate. So usually, I spend the week translating a document, perhaps a webpage for the OTW site, like the FAQs or a News post. At times, I may get contacted to help translate a text-image, or fic-tags in my language, for a different Committee -- we are kind of the go-between here!

Translating some words into my language, Marathi, can be pretty tough, and sometimes hilarious even. We have to figure out how sentence structures have to be changed to fit a text, or the closest possible translation is used. Fun fact: Fanvid is literally translated to mean "Western Picture Gallery" in Marathi (because that's a word English totally dreamt up one day and refused to inform the other languages).

On the whole, it's a pretty relaxing workload, and is easily managed side by side with university life (with some good time management skills; seriously, if it's one thing I've learnt as a volunteer, it's that!).

What made you decide to volunteer?

I've always wanted to, I think. On some level, I wanted to give back to the community that has been there for me in little ways, throughout my formative years, providing encouragement and companionship when I needed it. And volunteering for the OTW was a way to do that, to be a part of something that allows fans to have a wholesome and positive environment to exercise their creativity in! It also allowed me to actively support the site that I'd grown so fond of!

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

The sense of community! Seriously, imagine hundreds of people with like minded interests and passion for fannish activities -- it's a wonderful feeling. Another thing I've really enjoyed is taking part in the annual International Fanworks Day celebration -- hosting games and interacting with people who've come to enjoy this site so much. It's lovely to see how this site has brought fans together!

What fannish things do you like to do?

Oh, a myriad of things! I've read, written and even beta-read many fanfictions over the years. I've taken part in and helped organise a couple of fanwork challenges, and I love browsing through the truly wonderful fan art created by artists out there!

But mainly, reading (devouring) fanfiction has become a very integral part of my life. I've officially read more fanfiction than books by now!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.