Translate a Story

Translate a Story 2021

Partner information

A translation campaign to promote early age reading during the COVID-19 crisis

The partners in the Translate a Story community are pleased to announce the Translate a Story 2021 campaign, a book translation campaign to facilitate early age reading at home and in school. Translate a Story 2021 will be launched on April 23 (World Book Day), and run until September 8 (International Literacy Day).

Our vision for this year is to build on the community from 2020, gathering 1,266 volunteers who translated more than 6,000 books into more than 100 languages.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for openly available early grade reading resources in languages children mostly use at home. In response to this need, a collaboration between the The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), UNESCO, ADEA, UNHCR, The Global Book Alliance, Creative Commons, Learning Equality and Curious Learning as well as other partners, has established the initiative Translate a Story, to help organizations translate openly licensed high-quality early grade reading books into different national languages. 

The 2021 Translate a Story campaign will have two main activities:

  1. A global translation campaign from April 23 to September 8, inviting partners with volunteers or staff to translate books into their local languages. Participants must document competence in the languages they are translating from and into. A team should have a minimum of one translator, author or linguistic expert to ensure the quality of the final translated product.
  2. Country specific efforts that will focus on translating and government improvement, freely available reading resources in more languages. Norad and the Global Digital Library team are partnering with UNESCO and ADEA to work closely with selected governments to ensure government approval of high-quality reading materials. 

If your organization wants to become a partner and contribute with translations, please contact us!

Translated books from volunteers will not automatically be published for public use on the Global Digital Library (GDL) itself, as there are dedicated quality assurance standards for content on the platform. However, if a national translation event leads to a significant batch of translated resources at different reading levels, and the Ministries want to make those resources publicly available on the GDL, the GDL team can work with its quality assurance team to validate those resources for inclusion on the platform. 

Global Digital Library translation platform 

The GDL facilitates translation into more than 320 languages. Any translated book can also easily be exported to be used on other platforms. 

For more information on how to get startet with translation for you organization go to

Confirmed co-organizers

We are currently in dialogue with a number of organizations to explore possible collaborations. The co-organizers listed are the organizations that are confirmed at this point. 

Norad and the Global Digital Library team will coordinate this year’s campaign in collaboration with Learning Equality and the Global Book Alliance. 

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. It develops and maintains Kolibri, an end-to-end suite of open-source tools, content, and do-it-yourself support materials, designed for offline-first teaching and learning. The Kolibri Content Library currently contains storybooks from the Global Digital Library, and will contain all approved translations from the sprint following the event and quality assurance.

Curious Learning is a non-profit that curates, localizes, optimizes and distributes open-source learning content that provides a path to literacy in 50+ languages. Harnessing the natural curiosity of a child, together with the neuroscience of how the brain learns to read, a child can learn to read using low-cost technology, regardless of proximity to schools or even access to literate adults. Curious Learning works with multiple partners, including multilateral institutions and governments, to bring localized apps directly to children. 

UNESCO has been a long-standing partner for promoting the Global Digital Library with a view to supporting early-grade reading in underserved 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.

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