2014-11-11

Gap time volunteer: Lunch break volunteer version

I call a fraction time ``Gap time''. A gap time is for instance, a time I am waiting for my next train, a time I am waiting for someone at a cafe, my commute time, and so on. Everyday I have some fraction time that I need to wait something a bit. I have a volunteer work for translating education materials. I often use this ``gap time'' for it.

I'm a lazy person, therefore I could hardly find some amount of continuous time for my volunteer work. I believe if I work hard, I cannot continue it. Thus my strategy is ``don't work hard, do just small amount only, but continue everyday for long time.''

I translate Khan Academy learning materials and its site to Japanese and German. I could translate English to Japanese alone, but I need some help for German translation. I ask to help for this at the lunch break gap time. When I and my colleagues go to lunch, I ask someone to proofread my translation while we are waiting for our coffee. This is a lunch break volunteer.

I translate one or two math exercise problems almost every day. I printed it out and bring it to our lunch. We often go to our favorite coffee house after the lunch, I ask one of my colleagues to proofread my translation at there. One of six colleagues help me out at once. Here is a snapshot picture of how it looks like. The pictures below are an example of proofreading and some of them.

Lunch break volunteer snapshot
A sample proofreading result
Recent results
We do this for one and half year. The amount of translated words is around 410,000 words (Japanese) and 40,000 words (German). For German, we only did it in weekday, five to ten minutes per day. We continue this for one and half years, and I see a great progress. Since this is around 1% or total necessary work, we only need 100 people to do this. I am the slowest translator among German Khan academy translators, so practically we don't need 100 people. There are some active volunteers for German translation, so they have good progress. On the other hand, currently only two volunteers (including me) are working Japanese translation, so it will take a while. I limit my time to maximal 25 minutes per day for German translation. I don't want to push my colleagues, so I also limit the length of the translation per day. The next figure shows the progress of recent one year.

Crowdin progress graph from 2013-11 to 2014-10

How do you think this way to join a volunteer activity? I recommend this method. I only use the time at our lunch coffee break for this volunteer. Sometimes there is no volunteer since we go to ice creame house instead of the coffee house. A gap time volunteer is not so hard to do, but if you continued it, the result is impressive. How do you think to try something out in this way?

Acknowledgments

Thanks for my proofreading helpers: J.M., J.R., C.W., D.S., N.B., D.S.

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