Thanks Google, I am a GVer!

I have a love and hate relationship with Google, I know. I don't like the way that I have become so dependent of it – I can let go of the convenience of gmail, calendar, groups, search, docs, and at least I have managed to avoid getting started in the first place with plus and hope I will never want a glass. But for one thing alone I would really like to thank Google forever: I discovered Global Voices through an unpretentious search on its engine for two keywords: tradução, blogs.

It was July 9, 2007, another Monday night after a despairing day at work. I had been seeking something more meaningful to do with my spare time and had had recently an idea for a new blog about the world of Portuguese language translations, written by translator-bloggers, a “Translation Blog League” of some sort. I was searching blogs written by translators to invite authors to join me and the first link that I clicked on that night, served by Google, was a post published a few days back on Daniel Duende's blog about the official launch of Global Voices in Portuguese and calling for volunteers.

I checked out the new Portuguese site, the English site, the Manifesto, Lingua page, all pages, and remember feeling my heart beating faster with each click, as if saying “That it is, this is what I've been looking for”. The project linked my two main skills, journalism and translation. It was exciting and, besides, for a very good cause. I never thought I would be where I am today when, without much consideration (in other words in an impulse), I wrote to Daniel asking to let me in, and, of course, inviting him to join “my blog”.

His reply came in a matter of minutes, and never mind he didn't accept my invitation, I thought. I was smitten by his courtesy, generosity and warmth. I felt welcomed straight away, it was like coming home (thanks, Duende!). Looking back to that visionary email, I see the same reasons why I still love Global Voices, 7 years on:

O Global Voices Online é um observatório das blogosferas mundiais, com ênfase nas localidades que recebem pouca ou má cobertura da mídia e carentes de atenção e “voz” nas conversações globais. […]

O projeto Lingua, do qual o Global Voices em Português faz parte, visa traduzir o conteúdo produzido e publicado no Global Voices Online para várias outras línguas. Existem, neste exato momento, braços do projeto que estão traduzindo o conteúdo para Espanhol, Português, Francês, Bengali, Chinês Tradicional, Chinês Simplificado e Alemão, mas em breve outros sites entrarão no ar para contemplar outras comunidades linguísticas.

O trabalho de tradução e publicação do material nos sites Lingua é basicamente voluntário, mas nem por um momento é desprovido de recompensas para os colaboradores com ele envolvidos. Além de dar força a um projeto midiático de altíssima qualidade, o voluntário também está fortalecendo o seu portifolio online de traduções em um espaço cuja visibilidade cresce a cada dia e participando ativamente de um movimento de grande relevância nas conversações globais.

Estes são, acredito eu, apenas alguns dos motivos para se participar do projeto. Pessoalmente também aprecio um bocado a quantidade de informação que absorvo no processo, e a chance de conhecer muita gente bacana de todos os cantos do mundo, também envolvidos nesta empreitada.

Global Voices Online is an observatory of the world blogospheres, with emphasis on places that receive little or poor media coverage and are in need of attention and “voice” in the global conversations. […]

Lingua project, of which the Global Voices in Portuguese is part, aims to translate the content produced and published on Global Voices Online into several other languages​​. There are, at this very moment, arms translating content into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Bengali, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and German, but soon other sites shall come live to cover other language communities.

The translation and publication work in the Lingua sites is basically voluntary, but not for a moment is devoid of rewards for contributors involved with it. Besides strengthening a media project of the highest quality, the volunteer is also strengthening their own portfolio of online translations in a space whose visibility is growing every day and will be actively participating of a movement of great relevance in the global conversations.

These are, I believe, only some of the reasons to participate in the project. Personally, I also appreciate a lot the amount of information I learn in the process, and the chance to meet lots of cool people from all over the world, also involved in this endeavour.

I found it dream like and could barely wait to get started. My wordpress account and instructions came shortly after I confirmed I wanted to join, and on that same Monday night I was submitting my first translation, which was published next day. I chose a roundup (the way Quick Reads used to be called back then) written by Oiwan Lam: Hong Kong: Interview with Zoula (revisiting it now I see it has a broken link. The interview with the so-called first blogger-journalist in China about citizen journalism can still be read here).

I could just not stop translating, and would “disguise” GV posts in dreamweaver to send them from the office, where my job sounded more boring and meaningless by each day. Within a month of joining Lingua, I was suggesting posts about Brazil to our Portuguese editor José Murilo: my first original post published in August. I had so much energy and enthusiasm that I was then invited to share the editorial position with Murilo. This afforded me my first summit invitation, Budapest, where for the first time I met my GV family face to face. It was again love at first sight!

Lingua was so small in the 2007 Budapest Summit that our first meeting – to plot Lingua domination – was around a table in the hotel bar. Murilo left some time after and for two years I was overworked as the sole Portuguese language editor on the top of a full time job. I finally quit my job to go travelling after the summit in Santiago, where I passed the baton to Sara. Before arriving back in London, I had an offer for the job I have now, as Multilingual Editor. In the Nairobi summit, where the whole Leopard Room was too small for Lingua, I started to feel at a crossroads, finding myself increasingly disconnected to the world of social media. The Philippines summit, my 4th, will be an interesting one. Lingua domination is a reality: Global Voices in Spanish alone is bigger than the main GV.

The best I could relate to social media in the Nairobi Summit was a workshop against it! Photo by Jillian York.

The best I could relate to social media, our raw material, in the Nairobi Summit was a workshop against it! Photo by Jillian York.

Global Voices took over and changed my life, my world and of course, I never had time again for that Translation League Blog idea, which was soon dead. To date, I have contributed 1022 translations and written 653 posts (these stats are not as accurate, as some were original pieces in Portuguese, but anyways). I sometimes still contribute with content, although writing or translating was never part of my job as Multilingual Editor. I am very lucky to be one of the few people to have a job with GV, and although I slowly see myself drifting away from the online world, I still believe in the project and its mission, and love the community who makes it happen, my friends, and these keep me going. On writing these lines I realise it is my longest time served in one organisation.

In these 7 years, the online world has seen much changes, especially the world of social media. We have changed too, me and GV, and although there are still much love and commitment, I sometimes feel tired and less passionate about getting online each day – and I do wish I had all that excitement of the years back. Could it be a cases of 7 year itch? I don't know, but I am a romantic, and hope it is possible to rekindle our relationship again (any cool ideas, Google?). For the time being, it is still very true to me Daniel Duende's wisdom, which I found in one of the posts he wrote on Global Voices back in 2007:

“A vida é boa quando você acredita no que faz e faz o que acredita.”

“Life is good when you believe in what you do and do what you believe in.”

"What do you mean, social media addicts?  They ain't any here!", asks I-Fan Lin from Taiwan. Photo: Aya Chebbi, copyright Demotix (3/07/2012)

“What do you mean, social media addicts? They ain't any here!”, wonders I-Fan Lin from Taiwan. Photo: Aya Chebbi, at Demotix


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.