Translators Guide

Hello, Translators! This guide acts as a reference, explaining the process of creating translations of Global Voices posts within the Lingua Network and from the Lingua sites in details. For the short version, designed for new translators, check out the Google slide displayed below. It should be very thorough and cover most issues we tend to face. Please check out the rest of our Global Voices Lingua Guides.

This slideshow will give you an overview of the technical process of posting, to complement the explanations below.

Global Voices Lingua translates GV material into your language. So, you can translate from:

After finishing the translation, please press “Submit for review” and alert your Translation Manager. If the site doesn't have an active Translation Manager, contact the Lingua Manager for help.

If you are a brand new translator and haven't read the Welcome to New Translators page then please do so now, it will introduce you to Global Voices and our community, while this page will explain the technical details of posting translations. You can also check out this short screencast explaining the process:

If you are not a Global Voices contributor yet please see the Get Involved page to learn how to become an author or translator.

If you look for some information and can't find it here, please send an email to the GV Community and mention that you didn't locate the answer here, we can all work together to make this documentation as complete and thorough as possible.

Background on Global Voices and WordPress

The software we use for all Global Voices sites is called WordPress. It is a blogging tool with lots of options and features that we use for pretty much all our sites. A full explanation of how to use WP for blogging is a bit beyond the scope of this document, but it is fairly intuitive and you should be able to get the hang of it pretty fast. If you want to learn about using WordPress they have good documentation at their documentation wiki.

Note on text editors and NEVER USING MICROSOFT WORD

Editing a post externally with Fraise

Editing a post externally with Fraise

Translating posts can be done entirely within the WordPress admin site if you like doing it that way. However, sometimes it is nice to work locally using a nice text editor with syntax highlighting for HTML. It is also a good idea to save your post text on your local computer while you work in case something goes wrong with the site, and your text gets lost, this shouldn't happen, but sometimes it does.

If you want to edit locally:

  • Start the translation process by importing the content from the source URL.
  • Copy the text you need to translate into your local text editor.
  • Translate the text there.
  • Paste the text into the content body in WordPress and save the translation.

Here are some recommended free text editors that work great with HTML:

WARNING about Microsoft Word: Using Microsoft Word or similar complex word processors will make your article broken when you save it because they add extra crap to the HTML that makes WordPress freak out. Please use only simple editors or code editors like the ones mentioned above.

Creating Translations

Creating translations from one website to another is fairly easy. Hopefully, the hardest part is the actual translation!

For a video introduction to creating translations see this screencast:

Importing content from source

Fetching post content in Posts > Add New

Fetching post content in Posts > Add New

The first step in translating a post is grabbing the URL (link) of the source post that you want to translate and entering it in the GV Lingua Translation box in the New Post screen of the site you are translating for.

  • Go to the source post you want to translate (from Global Voices, Rising Voices, Advox, Community, or from a Lingua site).
  • Copy the URL.
  • Go to the site you are translating for and log in (add /wp-admin/ to the end of site URL to log in)
  • Go to Posts > Add New from the dashboard.
  • Paste the URL of source post into the GV Lingua Translation box.
  • Click the Fetch Post Data button.

This will check that the URL is valid, save the translation record and return the content from the source post to your translation post so you can start translating it.

Translations box after content import

Translations box after content import

Note: The system is set up to show you errors if there is a problem with your URL, or if someone else already began translating this post. Please read any errors carefully and follow their instructions. If you have continued problems, please contact your Lingua Director.

Updating a translation record without importing content

The other button in the GV Lingua Translation box is Update. This allows you to save or re-save the translation record (the relationship between the two posts as translations of each other) without importing all the actual post content. This is useful if something is wrong with the translation information and it needs to be updated or if the translation record is missing for some reason.

Pushing the Fetch Post Data button when a post already contains text will add the source post information to the end of whatever content is already there, so be careful with this button when you are editing posts that aren't completely empty.

Translating Post Title and Content

This is evident, but I'll mention it here for completeness sake: Once you have imported and translated the content, you should go through the post's title at the top and content in the big box and make sure that everything has been translated into your language.

The exceptions are HTML tags ( like <img> ), (like and bits of content that are already in a different language from the source (i.e. original quotes).

Translating Excerpts

Excerpt box, this needs to be translated.

Excerpt box, this needs to be translated.

An Excerpt is a short description of the post that is shown instead of the full content on the homepage, category pages, and other archives. You should translate that text before publishing your translation. Otherwise, the excerpt will show up in the original language on the homepage of the site you are translating for.

Just take a second to check the Excerpt’ box on the post editing page after you do your content importing.

Automatic Post Information

While you have to translate the title, content and excerpt of the post there is other information that will be imported automatically for you and doesn't need any action from you. Nonetheless its good to be aware of them and you should try to notice if any of these automatically-imported data are missing:

  • Post thumbnail – A small image URL. This should be in the GV Thumbnails box on the post editing page. They don't always exist on source posts so they might not be on every translation.
  • Source metadata – This is the information about the source post that lets the Lingua site show information like original author and links back to the original source. If there is ever a problem with the Source Metadata, then use the Update button in the GV Lingua Translations box to refresh it.
  • Categories – They will show up in the sidebar of the post editing screen and match those on the original. There should always be some categories on every post. If there are none you have probably encountered a bug.

NOTE: Please do not add any categories for translations of posts from Global Voices. A common mistake it to add the language of the Lingua site you are volunteering for, but this is not needed. The language category should reflect the languages of the blogs quoted and what languages are in the posts we are linking to.

On Lingua sites you are supposed just to use the same categories that are on the English post. Your language should not be added to the list unless there is a link to your language in the post. If you notice a mistake in the original categories, then you might want to report this through our Edit Request form.

The exception is for posts from Advocacy and Rising Voices, which need to have most categories chosen and added manually, according to your own discretion and the nature of the post.

Converting/Localizing Content

While you're translating a post, there are certain elements of a post that you should convert, so they work better for your linguistic audience.

Video Translation

If the post you are translating has a video, you may want to subtitle it to increase its accessibility. Please check our guideline Using Amara To Subtitle Videos.

Editing/Localizing links inside posts

Although most links in a translated pieces will remain the same, there are some instances in which translators can and should localize links themselves. The text or the words linked should always be translated so that the text reads well.

  • Always change links when the original post you are translating links to a previously translated Global Voices post in your language.
  • If a website linked offers a version in your language, do change the link too, so that it points to the local version.
  • It is also advisable that you change Wikipedia links, provided that your language has a satisfactory page on the same subject.
  • You can change links to general mainstream media, when used to provide background information, if you find good equivalent news stories. Prioritize links within the same source: BBC, Reuters and a few others sites offer localized websites that may have reported on the same news from the post you are translating.

In case you can not find a piece of news from the same source describing the same event, the second option is to try to find an equivalent news article in your language, from a reputable source, that presents the same information and angles.

Please bear in mind that this is valid only for background information about general events. This is not the same as to change links that are to editorial posts or opinion pieces or those in which the mainstream media site linked plays a pivotal role in the story or if it is mentioned as the source of information.

See an example of this in this story about President Obama's visit to Brazil, where newspaper Folha de São Paulo is the source of an important piece of information.

You are also allowed to, at your discretion, add links to further background information in your language, if you think that the readers would benefit from extra contextualization, even if the source post you are translating from don't have any links.

Translating Tweets and Hashtags

When the tweet is not in the same language as your post, simply include a translation blockquote (<blockquote class='translation’>) below the tweet embed code (<blockquote>).

Only translate the content of the tweet itself, the links, date and username will already be visible inside the original tweet embed.

  • Never translate the tweet embed code! Add a new translation blockquote for the translated text.
  • Do not translate hashtags
  • If you need to add an editors note into your translation (e.g. to explain an abbreviation) wrap it in square brackets ([…])

In other words, for Global Voices in English, we tend to leave the original hashtag and then put a […] note explaining the word if it's in another language or isn't obvious. For Lingua sites, the way to do this may vary from group to group – please check with your Translation Manager what is the site's style.

For Global Voices in Spanish, for example, translators leave the hashtag, but include a translation using [ ], but the words inside the brackets don't keep the hashtag format: they are written separately and respecting upper/lower caps:

Protestors in Egypt gather around Tahrir Square. #Jan25 #Egypt #TahrirSquare

Translates liked this:

Manifestantes en Egipto se reúnen alrededor de la Plaza Tahrir. #Jan25 [25 de enero] #Egypt [Egipto] #TahrirSquare [Plaza Tahrir]

Please note that for most languages we keep the original quote, and add the translation just below. We need to use the blockquote codes for this.

Example of quoted tweet and translation on WordPress

This is what it looks like in the Text editor:


And this is what it looks like in the Visual editor:


Translation Notes

If you feel that a particular piece of information deserves extra clarification to help a reader who is not familiar with the subject, you can add a translation note at the end of the paragraph you are translating, or at the end of the piece. Please use brackets:

[translation note: Lampião was the nickname of Virgulino Ferreira da Silva.]

Crafting headlines and excerpts

Translators and Translation Managers have more freedom to translate headlines and excerpts in a way that will be more appealing and relevant to the local public. They may be adapted to Lingua local audience, and either follow the original post or the English translation or differ from both of them, as long as they remain faithful to the original idea.

Translation Philosophy: “Mirror it” v. “Make it new”

There are several schools of translation out there, there is the “mirror” school (keep it exactly the same to preserve accuracy) and there is the “make it new” school.

Ideally, translators will adopt a sensible approach that incorporates elements of each and will use their judgment taking in account their audience to make calls on tough case scenarios. When in doubt though, resort to cultural translation and avoid translating idioms literally.

Translators are encouraged to use bracketed “translators’ notes” when they needed to change something in the original post. Here is a ridiculous example:

Once upon a time [Note: In English, this is a common expression used to start a fantastical story] there was a young princess blah blah blah.

Also, remember that Global Voices is closer to a news site – so this is the register to go for!

Translating non-English posts

On GV most translations are from English into another language, but as more posts are originally written in other languages this is changing. When you are translating a post that was written in e.g. Arabic you can choose whether to base your translation on the Arabic version, or the English translation. When deciding please bear in mind these two rules:

  • Ideally you should always be translating into your mother tongue.
  • If possible, you should translate from the original language.

If you choose to translate from a language other than English it is also good to keep an eye on the English version, both in case it has useful insight into the text, and in case it contains translation errors that the original translator missed.


If you are fluent in the language of a quote, feel free to translate directly from it rather than from the English translation. If you find the English translation of the quote is wrong or misleading, please report it to the relevant author/translator or use the Edit Request page.

Headlines and Excerpts

Headlines and excerpts may be adapted to better serve a local Lingua audience. When translating a post you may either follow the original post or the English translation, or differ from both of them. You may also add additional contextualization for sake of understanding (eg. explanation of names, places, expressions. )

Handling Discrepancies and Translation Errors

If you discover discrepancies between the meaning of the original post and the meaning of the English translation you should use your personal judgement for your own translation and when necessary contact the original author and/or English translator to clarify (Use the email contact form on their public GV user profiles), or use the Edit Request form.

When dealing with language and phrasing differences siding with the original post is usually better. On the other hand if the difference is that the English version has more context or clarity intended for an international audience, then including that extra context is a good idea.

If there is a large, confusing or problematic discrepancy please contact the relevant authors/translators to ensure that all versions are edited to be accurate. You may also use the Lingua Edit Request Form to quickly contact the Lingua Director about problematic translation discrepancies.

GV HTML and Style Considerations

When translating post content you should keep in mind the standards that Global Voices uses for making our particular content look good on the final page. Here are some of the major HTML styles we use that you should maintain in your translations.

All the HTML from the original post should be imported into the translation, so just editing the text should be enough to keep things the same, but watch out for accidentally removing important styles.


For large, quoted text we use the <blockquote> HTML tags (there is a button in the editor to make this easier). Eg:

This is what he said:
<blockquote> BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH</blockquote>

These blocks of text will have a white background with a quotation mark in them to denote that they are quotes from elsewhere, as the following:


Translation Quotes

When translating text, the policy at GV is to show the original text in a <blockquote> tag in its native language followed immediately by the translated text in a translation block like so:

<blockquote>My chair is very small</blockquote>
<blockquote class="translation">Ma chaise est très petite</blockquote>

My chair is very small

Ma chaise est très petite

Translation quotes use <blockquote class=”translation”>

These pieces of code needs to be added when editing in HTML view (click on the TEXT tab, next to Visual, under the headline box).

The code for the translation can be added by copying and paste the above or selecting the text that is a translation of a quote and clicking on the translation button.

Either way, when translating post content you should leave the original native-language text alone in its blockquote and only change the translated text in the class=”translation” block.

RTL/Arabic/Farsi/Hebrew Quotes

Because Arabic/Farsi/Hebrew/Pashto text is right-to-left in direction there is a special class for blocks of Arabic, Farsi or Hebrew text. It will change the text alignment and also make the text larger (because arabic needs a bigger font to be clearly readable).

 <blockquote class="rtl">اف الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين ف</blockquote>

اف الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين ف

Whether it is a div, a p or a blockquote the class=”rtl” serves to change the text direction. If you are translating a post with the rtl class you should not remove it unless you are translating to a Right-to-left Lingua site (i.e. Arabic/Hebrew/Farsi/Pashto), in which case it can be removed and replaced with a standard blockquote.

(If you are an Arabic/Farsi/Hebrew/Pashto translator please use class=”translation” instead of class=”rtl”)

Notes / Translation Notes

To add some visually distinguished translation notes at the beginning or end of a post please use the “notes” class in a div around your content. Translation notes can be used to add necessary context or information for your linguistic audience:

 <div class="notes">Notes: This post is being ironic.</div>

Other CSS Styles in Posts

Please DO NOT use any other CSS styles in your posts than the ones listed above. You should be able to control the look of your posts using the HTML tags listed above the posting area like <strong> and <em>.

Using other CSS (things like <p style=”padding:5px;”>) could break the page and not be noticed by your Translation Manager. If you feel that you need more options while editing posts please ask your Translation Manager for advice. If the CSS you want is really necessary, your Translation Manager can work with the tech team to make it part of the standard Lingua CSS or else add it to your language site's custom CSS file.

Other Style Considerations

  • Italics: Either italicize blog names or don't. Whichever you choose, be consistent throughout your translation. If you choose to not italicize and the title has more than one word, capitalize the first letter of each word. Example: either Blog Jokester or Blog jokester.
  • Capitalization: For consistency, the first letter in the first word of titles should be capitalized. Example: Soudan: Diversité et identité culturelle as opposed to Soudan: diversité et identité culturelle.

Found errors? Have questions?

We are very grateful to have our translators as best readers, because they need to pay extra attention to every word written on Global Voices. As a member of the Lingua team, it is probable that you will come across errors and have the opportunity to help improve our work, make sure you use the Edit Request page whenever you want to report an error.

Reporting errors

Below is a list of common problems with posts:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Videos not working
  • Broken links
  • Formatting problems
  • Wrong information
  • information missing, i.e., credit of photos
  • Text making no sense

In case you encounter any of the above or anything that you consider a error or a mistake, please do report it to the deputy or managing editor, so that the source and translated posts are also dealt with. It is easy: all you need to do it to use the Edit Request form – where you will need to inform the link of the post you are translating, and provide information about the error you found. Please feel free to report errors found in any site.

Marking dead/inactive links

Links on the internet die sometimes. If you notice that a link has stopped working on a post you are translating, there are two ways to deal with it:

1) If you can find the same article at a new link, then replace the old link with the new one.

2) If you can't find the original post you should mark the link as dead with the <del> html tag (which is in the editing buttons in WordPress) and add a brief note about the dead link:

<a href="">


<del><a href=""></del> [dead link]

Which will show the link with a line through the middle of it, like this.

In any case, please report any broken link you find, so that the source post and other translations are fixed too.

How to contact authors for clarifications

On every contributor page at the main GV site there is a box that lets you email the contributor directly.

Example – See the grey button next to the author's photo.

If you have time to wait for an email reply, then this is a good method to contact individual authors with questions. You can get to any author's page by clicking their name or photo on the article itself.

If you need a faster response or if it depends more on a language problem than on real context then maybe try the appropriate newsroom editor from the main GV site, who will likely be able to help you as well (with a little information from you). You can reach newsroom editors using the GV Contact Page by choosing the appropriate recipient and sending it to them.

When sending emails to authors, please use the subject “LINGUA TRANSLATION HELP NEEDED” so that they don't suspect it's spam or something.

Final check list

When you have finished a translation, always click on ‘Preview’ to see the post in context. It will help you to check that your translation mirrors the original post and is error free. Get in the habit to check the items on this list before publishing or sending for review:

  • Have all captions been translated?
  • Do the videos work?
  • Do the links work?
  • Have you inserted language codes after links to pages in different languages to the one you are translating into?
  • Go back to the WordPress editor: have you translated the excerpt?

After taking all the above steps, it is time to send for review. Don't forget to send an email to your Translation Manager to let them know the post is ready to be reviewed and published.

Translators resources

Please check our Toolbox for a list of useful resources for translators.

Promote your translation

Promote your translations by sharing it on your social networks. Recommending your translations right away after you post them will help spread the word and also avoid having the tweet button show a lonely “0” next to it. If your Lingua community does not have a twitter account yet, check the GV Twitter Template Guide, and communicate with the Lingua Director.

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