Global Voices: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you joined GV.
Thant Sin: I am Global Voices author and Burmese Translation Manager from Myanmar. I joined GV in 2013 when I was studying media in my university and my professor introduced to me about GV and to Mong, who is the Southeast Asia editor.
GV: Please tell us about the stages of your involvement within Global Voices
TS: I tried writing an article about my country for the first time while I was in my university in Malaysia. I felt as if I could represent my country more properly in a positive light although there were always a lot of negative news coming from my country. I could do that my focusing on the positive voices of the social media users in Burmese language and present their views to the international community, which is not something that mainstream media do.
I felt happy about writing on Global Voices whenever there is an important event happening in my country, and then I started writing more and more.
In 2015 I went to GV summit in Philippines and I could get to meet other GV volunteers like me. There I learned about Lingua and how it could help people in my country to know more news because of the human translation. And then in 2016, Gohary asked me to be the editor of the GV Burmese site.
GV: Did your experience of translating, authoring and editing change your vision of the world during this time?
TS: Translating or writing news for GV is a learning process for me. Whenever I am working for GV, I am learning something new from my country or around the world and I could see so many similar things around the world. It makes me feel the world is no different, yet we are so diverse and full of so many ideas. Being a volunteer in GV means I could be part of effort to bridge our cultures and at the time it continuously connects me to the world.
GV: Does your work with GV impact your practice in your job?
TS: GV is a process and it is not a onetime volunteering thing. So yes, it impacts my life as I move around different careers.
GV: Did the social media scene change a lot in your region since, say, 2009?
TS: Yes, obviously, it does and it is so unpredictable. It is constantly evolving and it brings both benefits and drawbacks.
GV: Could you also elaborate somewhat on how you manage your own time for all these tasks, including your day job? Any tips?
TS: It is so difficult to be able to balance between work and volunteering. But for writing articles for GV, if it is a breaking news event, I would set aside my free time for writing in the evening or on weekends, and after all writing for GV could be another form of entertainment. And for translation it is also fun to see the results of my works as well as knowing that I am able to help readers in some ways.
GV: What were your previous experiences translating? Was it very different from what you had done before?
TS: Not really. At work, sometimes I have to translate English documents to make resources in Burmese. I am not a full-time translator though.
GV: And your experience in GV, do you think it is useful in other aspects?
TS: It is definitely in so many ways. I could proudly talk about my volunteering with GV to other people.
GV: Why do you think a man in the street should read GV in your language?
TS: Because it is always fun to learn something about another country.
GV: What do you do when you're not translating? What do you do in your spare time?
TS: I would travel and if I’m not travelling, I would play video games, go out with friends or learn something online.
GV: What are your dreams?
TS: I want to obtain PhD in something I’m really interested in like linguistics, media or society, and do something with my knowledge.
GV: In all the time you have been collaborating with GV, what is your most memorable experience?
TS: The best part of being with GV is that you have friends everywhere you go around the world!
GV: How is your site of GV doing? Describe your work at your Lingua group and tell us about your plans and future hopes for the site?
TS: GV lingua site is not very active at the moment. And I am trying to get more translators to do more volunteering. I want to expand the network of GVers in Myanmar. Share the application form link!
GV: How do you pick posts to translate into your language, and, in fact, why did you choose to volunteer this way?
TS: I choose whatever I feel would be interesting for any person in Myanmar to learn. And this is why I volunteer: to tell stories.
GV: You've been translating for GV for several years, what would you say to those just starting out?
TS: It’s fun. You will never want to leave the community!
GV: Tell us about the city you live in, and how would you describe your country to a foreigner.
TS: I’m in Yangon at the moment. Everything in Yangon is changing rapidly and if you like chaos, come here. Other than that, we have beautiful culture, friendly people, and amazing food. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella when you come!
GV: Finally, describe yourself and how you see the world?
TS: I am 27 years old, interested in linguistics and media, and at the moment working at a NGO in Yangon, and I want to travel to actually see the world!
Thank you Thant for this very interesting interview!