Translate a story

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.5 billion children and youth are out of school. Many lack access to reading materials in a language they understand. You can help children in your community continue their learning process!

A collaboration including Norway, UNESCO, UNHCR, ADEA, The Global Book Alliance, Verizon, The Global Digital Library, Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver, The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative, African Storybook, Learning Equality and Creative Commons took place in the form of a sprint from April 8 – May 29, 2020 to help learning supporters of all types translate children’s reading books into new languages.

Thank you to the 1,266 volunteers who joined to translate 6,614 books into 100+ languages so that children could have access to the books they need to continue to read!

Keep the translation effort alive.

Anyone who can write in English and another language can join this effort to translate children’s books into local languages. Education ministries, teachers, donor missions, non-governmental organisations, technology companies, parents and others who can reach children with digital reading resources are in particular encouraged to take part.

The set up can be small or large: A parent can translate one book for one child. Institutions and organisations can set up translation and quality assurance groups in order to streamline efforts. We will offer spreadsheets by language for those who wish to share back their work with others looking for resources in that language.

Translations can be done based on books from some of the world’s top sources for open educational early grade digital storybooks: 

Translation Platforms

There are four platforms participating in this effort. Each offers a collection of open educational reading resources, and supports translation. As a translator, you can choose which platform you’d like to use. The platforms have different processes for curating the content they hold, but all have the same goal for this campaign: to help learning supporters translate digital reading books into more languages.

Start Translating on the Global Digital Library

The Global Digital Library is a web platform where high-quality early grade reading books can be accessed for reading on digital devices or for printing. The platform also supports translation of books from English to more than 320 languages. The Library is funded and managed by Norway, as a flagship initiative within the Global Book Alliance.


Start translating on StoryWeaver

StoryWeaver is an open source digital platform of multilingual children’s storybooks from Pratham Books. It contains easy-to-use tools to read, create, translate, publish, download and print books – all for free! The StoryWeaver Translate tool supports translation into 234 languages, and has a Dictionary to help you choose the appropriate words for your translation. And it’s no problem if you have a limited Internet connection – you can save the book to StoryWeaver’s Offline Translate Library and sync your translation when you have connectivity.


Start translating on Let´s Read platform

Let’s Read is part of The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative which creates meaningful reading opportunities for children, diversifies the global publishing sector, and overcomes book scarcity across Asia.


Start translating on African Storybook platform

Saide’s African Storybook initiative www.africanstorybook.org is a digital publishing model that provides access to openly licensed picture storybooks through its website and the Reader App in 190 languages of Africa for children up to the age of 10 years old as well as website tools for people to contribute storybooks by translating, adapting and creating.

Get inspired by this short film from a Cambodian translation event.

By participating, you will:

  • Learn how to translate storybooks
  • Translate children’s books from English to a language of your choice. You can then distribute the books to children through your network and also share back to the spreadsheet for that language.

You do not need to be a language professional to participate. There is only one real requirement – you must be fluent in both English and another language. You will also need a keyboard in the language you will be translating to and have access to a reliable internet connection.

We hope you will join us! Please spread the word to organisations and individuals who can reach children in need with reading resources!

About the co-organizers

The Global Book Alliance is a partnership of donors, multilateral agencies, and non-government organizations whose vision is a world in which all children have access to quality books that they can use to learn to read, read to learn, and develop a love of reading. The Global Digital Library is a flagship initiative within the Global Book Alliance, and is funded by Norway. Technical support provided by the Global Book Alliance in Action contract is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

Learning Equality is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting quality learning experiences through edtech in low-resource, low-connectivity contexts. Its product, the Kolibri Learning Platform, is designed to provide offline access to a curated and openly licensed educational content library, with tools for pedagogical support. The Kolibri Content Library currently contains storybooks from the translation platforms, and will contain all translations from the sprint following the event and quality assurance.

UNESCO has been a long-standing partner for promoting the Global Digital Library with a view to supporting early-grade reading in under-served languages. In the context of supporting countries to ensure continued education under the crisis of Covid-19 pandemic, UNESCO will work with partners to launch the translation sprint events in most vulnerable countries that are undergoing Covid-19 school closures to make reading opportunities available in local languages and accessible for all children.

UNHCR’s Connected Education aims to foster enabling environments that support learning, leveraging digital technologies and resources to engage students in a manner that allows them to link personal interests, peer relationships, and opportunities. With more than 1.5 billion children and youth impacted by COVID-19 related school closures, UNHCR has continued the push to explore online and digital resources that promote continuity via virtual learning and address the gaps in equity created by a widening digital divide.

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is the voice of education in Africa and a key network of Education Ministries. It plays a significant role in the education space as a convener, knowledge creator and forum for policy dialogue, working through its Inter-Country Quality Nodes (ICQNs) and the Task Force on Education Management and Policy Support. ADEA contributes to the empowerment of African countries to develop quality education and training systems that respond to the countries’ emergent needs and drive social and economic transformation sustainably.

Verizon believes that innovation is more than just technological advances. Innovation is about delivering possibilities, developing potential and ensuring a better future…for all people. As part of our COVID-19 response, our employees will have the opportunity to support the translation of storybooks to help learners everywhere be able to read in their own language.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a globally-accessible public commons of knowledge and culture. We make it easier for people to share their creative and academic work, as well as to access and build upon the work of others. CC will work with its global network to provide opportunities to translate openly licensed children’s books so learners everywhere can read in their local language.

You can make a difference by translating one book into one new language!