Translate a Story


#TranslateAStory FAQs

About the event

Who is organizing this virtual event?

The event is a collaboration between Norway, UNESCO, UNHCR, ADEA, The Global Book Alliance, Verizon, Learning Equality, Creative Commons, and the four platforms for openly licensed reading materials: The Global Digital Library, StoryWeaver, Let’s Read, and African Storybook.

How is this event responding to COVID-19?

Over 1.5 billion children are now learning at home because their schools have been shut down due to the spread of the virus. This sprint is an effort to make high-quality supplementary reading materials available for children to learn at home in a language they speak and understand.

Students who use underserved languages face a shortage of appropriate early grade reading materials, and school closures are likely to disrupt their learning more than students who speak a more common language like English.

By providing high-quality reading materials in all languages, including those that are traditionally underserved, we give all students a chance to continue their reading journeys at home.

Why is there a need for early grade literacy materials in different languages?

Learners in some countries face many challenges such as absence or underfunding of literacy programs, conflict, and crisis which interfere with the development of appropriate reading materials for young learners. At times children are asked to use or learn a language at school that they do not speak at home and often, reading materials provided to primary students are in a language those children do not speak at home.

Research has shown that in order to encourage a lifelong love of reading, children benefit from reading in the language they speak at home, also known as mother tongue.

Let’s add as many languages to our platforms as we can so students can read in their mother tongue!

How much time do we have to translate a book? Is there a deadline?

Your organization can take as much time as they need to translate a book. This particular translation push is between now and May 29, 2020. It takes approximately 1 hour to translate one book, with variations depending on the level.

How can we help recruit other volunteers for this event?

Tell a friend! Share on your social media! We have provided some social media shares for you to use, available here

Is there a cost to participate?

No, participation is free! We appreciate your organization volunteering their own time to contribute to these efforts.

We can’t participate this time around, but are there other opportunities to contribute?

There is a community of organizations that work to fill in gaps in local language content, and we are part of a large community of literacy professionals and enthusiasts working to fill this resource gap. In addition to the organizers, check out the work of other organizations like Bloom and Libraries without Borders to see like-minded efforts.

Using the translation platforms

How do we decide which platform to translate on?

This is truly up to the translators. The platforms are mutually supportive of one another, and we welcome the development of all of them. Each of the platforms have books in languages across the globe. In general, Let’s Read supports more Asian languages, StoryWeaver supports many European, Asian and African languages, and African Storybook supports many African languages, but otherwise the platforms all have the same goal — get as many books to as many kids who speak as many languages as possible!

You may find that the same book is available on two or more platforms. The organizers have gone to some effort to ensure that translation efforts are not duplicated.

Can we add audio or sign language to the books?

The translation platforms are similar in that they support the translation of books into different languages, but each have some unique functionalities. In order to add audio to the books or add visual sign language, additional support will be required.

No, at this time it is not possible to add audio and sign languages as part of the translation process. 

What support will be provided to us to translate on the different platforms?

Each of the translation platforms provide their own support within the platform itself, and through training materials. Some of the platforms will be offering an introductory webinar to onboard to the platform — check back here for updates: Visit each site’s translation page to learn more.

Can we add our own books to be translated?

Each translation platform has their own approach to adding new titles which can be viewed on their respective websites. Adding new titles is encouraged generally, but is not the focus of this sprint event.


What do we do if our language isn’t listed in the survey?

If you don’t see your language listed, no problem. Just email and let us know which one your organization would like to use. We can add languages within a day or so.

What do we do if our language is not listed on our translation platform of choice?

It is possible that a language is listed on the sign-up survey but is not listed on the platform your organization has chosen. If so, please reach out to:

Global Digital Library:


Let’s Read:

African Storybook:

Do the books have an open license?

Yes! All of the books on each of the platforms have a Creative Commons license. Learn more about the various types of Creative Commons licenses here:

After the event

Will the books be published, and if so, where?

Each of the platforms have different processes for quality assurance, but once this takes place, the books will become publicly available on each of the respective platforms, and made available to learners offline via Kolibri.

Will we receive certification for my translations?

The organizations will not be providing a certification for translations, but we applaud and appreciate your efforts! 

Can we list our participation in our portfolio?

Yes, feel free to include that you and your organization participated in this event in your portfolio.

We have a different question!

Please email with any other questions. Thank you!

%d bloggers like this: