1. Who they are

Guerrilla Translation is an activist community of translators working towards social change. They consider knowledge is a commons and thus it has to be accessible for the many. They are not just an agency of translators, they invest part of their time translating pro bono articles, contents and ideas that are useful for different social contexts. Their main aim is to enrich the international conversation about potent strategies for positive change, through handcrafted translations and media work. They are currently testing a value-based model that was prototyped during the encounter granted by FundAction Rethink Grant. This model combines two functions: a voluntary translation and media community working for activist causes, and an income-generating cooperative agency providing translation and communication services. The income generated by paid work is distributed between the translators that did the job, the organizational structure and some part of the income is saved to work on activist translations that are useful for broader communities of activists across the world.

2. What they did

Guerrilla Translation received a Rethink Grant in the round made in 2017. Back then, the collective had been working for three years under limited possibilities; it wasn’t generating regular income so it was mainly activist work. They presented a proposal to the FundAction community to produce a meeting in which relevant stakeholders contributed to developing a model to sustain not just the collective in a long term basis, but also the people that work in it. When they talked about sustainability, they didn’t refer just to economic sustainability but also taking into account care in the organizational structure. During three days, the collective members gathered persons with experience in projects such as Loomio, Wikimedia, ZEMOS98, Goteo or Smart Belgium, among others. The meeting took place in the beautiful town in the middle of Spain called Hervás, and the idea was not just to develop a sustainable model for GT, but also to be adapted in other contexts. Participants split in two different tables to share relevant experiences and knowledge, paying special attention to fields as governance of the collective; technical developments of the digital platform; communications and outreach; and community. By the end of it, each table presented their results and they worked together to identify ways of merging both models. The meeting was a space to relaunch an important project that was finding difficulties to continue and join new members in the platform.

3. Learnings for the FundAction community

The meeting took place during Spring 2018. Since then, Guerrilla Translation newly established value-based model has been developed in a testing phase, and it has received the attention of new translators that joined the team, and also other funders that found their work relevant as a tool for cross-sectoral cultural and knowledge exchanges. FundAction members considered it really important to deepen into ways of ensuring longer periods of sustainability for activist projects and platforms. But it is also important to find new ways of reaching it: Guerrilla Translation explores a hybrid format of economic sustainability that takes into account living conditions, relational spaces for members and other non-economic value-generating aspects of life.