Another member’s work for Haiti

by Erandy Pacheco

Last March, I was one of the MiTiN members that answered DePaul University’s call to join a project called Zafèn.  This project was created to help a nation in need, Haiti, by designing a website ( that allows people from all over the world to boost the Haitian economy through donations and loans to micro, small and medium enterprises. In order to do that, Zafèn receives profiles from such enterprises describing their needs and objectives. Once they are approved, the profiles are translated into English, French and Spanish and posted on the website.

When I joined the Zafèn translation team the website was in its beginning phase. Every word on the website was initially written in English, and then, sent to the translators. The minute something on the web page was changed or updated, the translations had to be revised accordingly.  We had only a couple of weeks before our deadline of April 1. That was when the website had to be launched in three languages with all its components, including dozens of profiles of businesses that would start receiving loans and donations on that date.

It was a group effort, where everyone had to contribute to meet the deadline. As usually happens with translation projects, we did not have time to organize ourselves as a team in the ideal manner. Our supervisor, Prof. Laura Hartman had to use whoever was available. In that way, many times someone had to finish or revise someone else’s job. I am sure translators were walking in and out of the project, because of their limited availability, making it hard for Laura to know who she could or could not count on. I had the opportunity to translate three profiles into Spanish: one that sought to expand a computer lab, another one that wanted to rebuild a university that was destroyed by the earthquake, and a third one that needed funds to help a mother of three expand her candy store. I was also in charge of translating the website terms of use and several of the website commands. Although the job was often stressful for everybody involved in the project, I am sure we all worked diligently with the hope that our efforts would be rewarded with the website’s success and with lots of donations and loans for people in need.

It has been now almost three months since Zafè has been launched. I was happy to read on the website’s news that the project raised $50,000 during its first six weeks of existence, and had its first fully funded project in a matter of hours. The Zafèn project is one that reminds translators how important, inspiring and rewarding our work can be to changing the world.

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