To help the world combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Alison launched the course Coronavirus – What you need to know. In order to make sure that no one was excluded from accessing possibly life-saving information, Alison committed to translating the course into as many languages as possible. To achieve this ambitious goal, Alison reached out to its community of Learners, seeking volunteers willing to use their language skills to help translate the course and spread important information on coronavirus. Xavier Solavera translated the course into Catalan and played his part in spreading free learning that has helped save lives.
Xavier, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Xavier and I am 53 years old. I learned web design on my own, self-taught through online courses and tutorials. I am an Alison user since 2017 and I have completed several design courses which have helped me to increase my knowledge.
How did you learn that Alison was looking for translators for its coronavirus course?
Since I am an Alison user, I receive updates and newsletters by email and so I came across the opportunity to collaborate in a translation of the course into Catalan.
What was your experience of Alison before volunteering to translate? Had you studied with Alison before?
I have been an Alison user since 2017 and I receive regular updates. I’m familiar with the variety of areas in which Alison provides online courses.
Why did you offer to translate our coronavirus course?
When I learned about the opportunity to translate this course to Catalan, I wanted to get involved, although I am not a professional translator. I study English on my own, reading texts and using online translators. Being a Catalan speaker, and with my knowledge of English, I thought I would be able to translate the content of this Alison course. And I was not alone because the translation was completed with help from various colleagues. I’m happy with the results.
Why is it important that everyone has access to important information on coronavirus?
Coronavirus has spread worldwide faster than other diseases. I don’t know why but, from the first days, I thought that it could be dangerous for people everywhere.
Tell us a little about your method when translating.
Because I am not a professional translator, or a person specialised in linguistics, I used some free online translators, often comparing a piece of text in different translators to be sure the essence that I was translating was correct.
Why is free learning so important and why is it important to translate it into many languages?
Free learning is important because, firstly, education is a human right. Another reason it’s important is because, although free learning is implemented by many states around the world, sometimes it’s not possible to attain certain types of knowledge unless organisations like Alison make free resources available to everyone. Today, these free resources can quickly circulate through the internet and reach anyone with a connection.
Have you been learning through Alison during the pandemic? How has the lockdown been for you?
I’ve informed myself about the pandemic because I’ve been gradually translating this course since last February. I have been collaborating on the translation of this course with some others volunteers online. The lockdown has been bearable because normally I’m online for many hours a day.
What would you say to people who might be interested in translating for Alison?
I am certain that volunteers improve a lot of situations and I thank everyone around the world who work as volunteer. I am sure that without them the world would be different, and I’m certain not better.
If you’d like to play your part in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic by helping Alison give people access to the information necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, please get in touch.