The idea of Translation Commons (TC) was born with the realization that translated data and memories truly belongs to translators who create them and they should be the ones able to capitalize on their work. If there could be a digital platform where their memories are protected, perhaps they would be willing to collaborate and collect their data for their own benefit.
After many conversations during 2014 at language conferences, networking events and private meetings, Jeannette Stewart wrote a long-form article on LinkedIn “Can the Language Industry Embrace Collaborative Commons and Survive?” which had an overwhelming response. In December 2014 she created a LinkedIn group called Translation Commons setting out the premise of a community collaboration. Within 20 days, 1,000 members signed up and since then the numbers are constantly increasing. As feasibility studies go, this was a runaway success.
Translation Commons was incorporated in the US in January 2015 and applied for nonprofit exempt status in April 2015. IRS granted TC nonprofit status under Section 501 (c) (3) in Oct 2015 and further classified TC as a public charity under Section 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi).
Founders Jeannette Stewart and Alan Stewart have been in the Language Industry since 1990 when they created CommuniCare, an LSP specializing in Life Sciences with offices in multiple countries. In 2009 they sold CommuniCare to a larger LSP and since then have been advocates for the improvement of various issues within the Language Industry.
During 2015 and while waiting for the application process for nonprofit status, there were many opportunities for community discussions in the LinkedIn group. Although the predominant issue remains that technology is not benefiting translators, there were other issues that the community decided to work on, the first being the need to create guidelines in a form of a Mentoring Standard for freelancers to be able to offer mentoring to young and inexperienced translators. In true community volunteer mode, a small group was formed, a survey was created, results have been analysed, conclusions have been drawn and now a group a 60 volunteers has undertaken to research further and start creating the Standard.
In the beginning of 2016 and during many conversations, a Founding Advisory Board started being created by volunteers within the Language Industry.