Dating Phase for Transition Translators

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This article is largely based on (and expands on) our governance model's "Dating section", and follows on from Joining Guerrilla Translation, a complete guide (make sure that you have read the preceding article before this one).

After joining the collective, the Dating Phase for Transition Translators takes you over the next nine months, broken down in three stages, including what will be expected of you at each stage and our commitment to you.

What to expect in the Dating Phase

At this stage, Dating members are considered as “Transition Guerrilla Translators” on the way to being committed. [1] . The purpose here is to help new members as much as possible and to clarify any doubts.

First impressions can be great but it’s the months following that will make or break the relationship, through clear communication and consent. When we talk about a nine month period to see how everyone works this is not just limited to new members. In fact, every member of the collective is subject to the same basic responsibilities and criteria (more detail in these links):

In Guerrilla Translation these responsibilities basically boil down to, carework, following the rhythms of the collective and translating some pro-bono material for the web magazine [2].

The productive pro-bono work amounts to approximately two full days of work out of those three months. Concretely, 400 credits equals 5000 words of translation work and 10000 words of copyediting work (if you're not familiar with the subject, translation takes a lot longer than editing. Compared to what most translation agencies offer, this is a very high ratio for copyediting and proofreading). It makes the most sense to spread this work out over those three months. We think it’s pretty easy to meet these goals.

Basic Responsibilities

Regarding basic care work-related responsibilities: anyone serious about joining this or any similar collective should be able to meet or - preferably, exceed - the expected care work responsibilities.

The first and foremost responsibility of the Dating Phase is to familiarise yourself with the collective's working procedures, productive and reproductive.

Beyond that, you are expected to:

  • Accrue a minimum of 400 Love Credits per quarter, by doing a number of pro-bono translations, editing, or formatting tasks. [3]
  • Learn about carework, both for the collective and within it.
  • Become familiar with the collective's tools and procedures. [4]
  • Keep our Community Rhythms
  • Manage deadlines and commitments in a professional and responsible manner.
  • Answer any communications and keeping the collective up to date about availability.
  • Be supportive of other members (casual ones too!)

Dating phase members will be assisted and cared for at every step of the way by all Guerrilla Translators.

The dating phase normally takes place over nine months, divided into three quarters, in synch with GT's quarterly calendar. This is done so the collective can batch all team evaluations at the same time. If a Transition Translator joins mid-quarter, that's fine, but the final evaluation will take place at the end of the next quarter along with the rest of the team. During that first "partial quarter" trainees are not obliged to obtain a proportional amount of Love Credits, but it's a good metric for initial feedback.

There will be a mutual evaluation every quarter. Is the new person happy with the relationship? How about the collective? Has the person met the minimal requirements? If it's all yes, great, full speed ahead. If not, better to cut the relationship now, with no bad vibes.

Stages of the Dating Phase

Here are the three quarterly stages of the Dating phase. As with all other members of the collective, you will be expected to meet the basic responsibilities outlined above, while upholding what you have signed off in your Commitment Statement. Beyond that, during each Stage you will be given a set of rights and privileges and, by the end of each quarter, you will be expected to have reached certain milestones.

Stage One (Months 1-3)

Stage One is the introductory phase of Dating, here you will have lots of hands-on help from your GT Buddy and you will be taken through tutorials and calls to help you out. Here we fully encourage you to soak up the collective's culture and to read all Loomio threads and Slack communications, even if they do not affect you directly.

Rights and Privileges

(In addition to the basic responsibilities and fulfillment of the Commitment Statement)

  • You will be compensated for any new pro-bono work partaken on a monthly basis.
  • If there is any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a casual phase, those credits may be used towards the 400 quarterly minimum. Note, these “casual stage” credits only begin to be paid down on a monthly basis during Stage Two.
  • You will perform carework, mainly learning by doing the procedures of the collective, receiving ongoing mentoring and support and beginning to take on carework tasks autonomously. This carework will be time tracked, but not compensated.
  • You will take part and vote on Loomio discussions. Your votes will be considered, but will not be binding.
  • You will be listed in bullet points under the "New Team Members" section of (in this case) Guerrilla Translation's Website, with links to the page of your choice.
  • No livelihood (paid) work is assigned at this stage.

Milestones

As part of our Quarterly Evaluation you will re-read your first Commitment Statement and self-evaluate, along with the group, whether you have abided by it or not. In addition to this you are expected to have reached the following milestones to the best of your ability [5]:

  • Having a basic understanding of our tools: why we use them, how they relate and how they are used.
  • Having a full understanding of our areas and subgroups and how to navigate them.
  • Having a basic understanding of our governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and where to find more info when needed.
  • Joining two or more Working Circles and becoming fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even if you don't take part in them).
  • Being fully familiar with our daily, weekly and bi weekly Community Rhythms.
  • Knowing how to start Loomio threads and create Trello cards with minimal assistance.
  • Having a clear understanding how to Toggl your time entries with some assistance and occasional corrections.
  • Knowing how to follow the procedure for Pro-bono translations with minimal assistance (Including basic Wordpress formatting and Social Media Outreach).
  • Being familiar with the development goals of the collective and its current health
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with your GT Buddy, your Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the collective.
  • Feeling integrated within the collective through meaningful relations.

If you feel you are falling behind in any of these, please ask for help ASAP and we'll take the time to make sure you are comfortably able to meet all the milestones.

Stage Two (Months 3-6)

Stage Two is the settling-in phase of Dating, here you will already have some autonomy and a clear idea of where to put your time to good use. Your GT Buddy is still there to help you with anything you may need and you will likely take a more active part in the collective's discussions and decisions. During this stage you will also be eligible for Livelihood work, albeit at a lower rate, so we recommend that you mainly concentrate on Love and Care work. You will continue to internalise the collective's culture, while feeling an increasing sense of ownership and belonging earned through your efforts in the past few months.

Rights and Privileges

(In addition to the basic responsibilities and fulfillment of the Commitment Statement)

  • You will be compensated for new pro-bono work on a monthly basis.
  • Previous pro-bono work undertaken during a casual phase starts to be paid down on a monthly basis at a 50% rate.
  • Carework continues as above with a stronger emphasis on autonomy. This carework is time tracked, but not compensated.
  • You will take part in and vote on Loomio discussions. Your votes will be considered but not be binding.
  • You will be given a bio page in the collective's website, and added to the picture bio menu under "Other Team Members".
  • Livelihood (paid) work assigned at this Stage is paid monthly at a 50% rate. Note that the other 50% will eventually be redeemable upon becoming committed.

Milestones

At the end of the quarter you will, once again, re-read your first Commitment Statement and self-evaluate, along with the group, whether you have abided by it. In addition to this you are expected to have reached the following milestones to the best of your ability:

  • Having a full understanding of our tools: why we use them, how they relate and how they are used and having the ability to mentor others in their usage.
  • Having a full understanding of our areas and subgroups and how to navigate them and being able to teach this to new members.
  • Having a thorough understanding of our governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and taking an active part in its development
  • Being part of two or more Working Circles and being fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even if you don't take part in them) while being able to explain them to others.
  • Being fully familiar with our daily, weekly, bi weekly and monthly Community Rhythms.
  • Full autonomy when opening Loomio threads and creating Trello cards.
  • Having a clear understanding of how to Toggl your time entries with no assistance and only occasional corrections.
  • Knowing how to follow the procedure for Pro-bono translations by yourself (Including all Wordpress formatting and Social Media Outreach tasks).
  • Knowing how to track your pro-bono wordcount and credits with assistance.
  • Being able to host interviews for those who want to join the collective after passing the initial test.
  • Being able to host our bi-weekly sprints, with a clear sense of each of the tasks in the interactive timeline and their current status.
  • Being familiar with the structure of the Quarterly Evaluation and able to assist in some of the sessions.
  • Being familiar with (and an active part of) the development goals of the collective and its current health.
  • Being able to and confident in representing the collective online through Social Media and other channels.
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with your GT Buddy, your Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the collective.
  • Feeling integrated within the collective through meaningful relations

Again, if you feel you are falling behind with any of these, please ask for help ASAP and you will be supported.

Stage Three (Months 6-9)

By the time you get to Stage Three you are practically a full Guerrilla Translator. The differences between this Stage and being part of the full/committed team are minimal, but it is understood that you will still be learning and honing some aspects. In this stage you will ideally have a large level of autonomy and, while your GT buddy is still there for you, you will also be ready to be a GT buddy yourself (for someone just starting Stage One, for example). It would be rare for someone who has reached Stage 3 to not go on to become a full/committed team member, but the milestones below are an obligatory requirement for achieving this status. During this stage you will be paid 75% of the value Livelihood work, which you will be offered in accordance to the Governance Model, while still maintaining a strong focus on Love and Care work and it is expected that your time investment on the latter will be on par with the full/committed members. You will still be learning, the same as everyone but, during Stage Three you will also be teaching new members [6] and offering assistance when needed. Finally, you should feel like any other Guerrilla Translator and have the confidence to represent the collective publicly.

Rights and Privileges

(In addition to the basic responsibilities and fulfillment of the Commitment Statement)

  • You will be compensated for new pro-bono work on a monthly basis.
  • Any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a casual phase begins to be paid down on a monthly basis at a 75% rate.
  • Carework continues as above with a stronger emphasis on autonomy. This carework is time tracked, but not compensated.
  • You will take part in and vote on Loomio discussions. From now on your votes are considered as binding, except for blocks.
  • You will receive a guerrillamediacollective.org email address.
  • Livelihood (paid) work assigned at this Stage is paid monthly at a 75% rate, and the other 25% will eventually be redeemable upon becoming committed.

Milestones

As before: you will re-read your first Commitment Statement and self-evaluate, along with the group, whether you have abided by it. In addition to this you are expected to have reached the following milestones to the best of your ability:

  • Having a thorough understanding of our tools: why we use them, how they relate and how they are used and having the ability to mentor others in their usage.
  • Having a full understanding of our areas and subgroups and how to navigate them and being able to teach this to new members.
  • Having a thorough understanding of our governance model (the logic behind it, how credits work) while taking an active part in its development
  • Being part of two or more Working Circles while becoming fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even if you don't take part in them). This includes being able to step up and steward one of these circles if necessary.
  • Being fully familiar with and able to mentor in our daily, weekly, bi weekly and monthly Community Rhythms.
  • Full autonomy when opening Loomio threads and creating Trello cards (and ability to mentor others on this).
  • Having a clear understanding on how to Toggl your time entries with no assistance and only exceptional corrections.
  • Knowing how to teach the procedure for Pro-bono translations by yourself (Including all Wordpress formatting and Social Media Outreach tasks).
  • Knowing how to track your pro-bono wordcount and credits and assist other in doing so.
  • Being able to host interviews for those who want to join the collective and have passed the initial test.
  • Being able to host the bi-weekly sprints, with a clear sense of each of the tasks in the interactive timeline and their current status.
  • Being familiar with the structure of the Quarterly Retrospective and able to take the lead in some of the sessions.
  • Being familiar with and an active part of the development goals of the collective and its current health
  • Being able to and confident in representing the collective online and in public, whether through interviews, public appearances, at events, etc
  • Being able to answer incoming emails to the collective, whether for collaborations, paid work or people seeking to join the collective
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with your GT Buddy, your Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the collective.
  • Feeling integrated within the collective through meaningful relations.

Again, if you feel you are falling behind with any of these, please ask for help ASAP and you will be supported.

Beyond the Stages: Becoming a full Guerrilla Translator

Not mentioned explicitly here is the fact that we also foresee notable improvements in the quality of your productive work as a result of working with our P2P/Commons methods.Yay!

Once you have made it this far, congratulations! You will have become a full Guerrilla Translator! This brings a few perks, including:

  • Autonomously choosing material to be translated according to GT's Content Curation Guidelines.[7]
  • Having binding decisions in online votes and decisions (see below)
  • Being fully paid for livelihood (paid) work
  • Take part in the monthly payment pipeline like the other Guerrilla Translators (including a payout of any accumulated percentage of Livelihood credits from during the Test Phase, or, possibly, accumulated Love credits from a preceding casual relationship with the collective)
  • Having their picture bio listed with all full team members in the Guerrilla Translation websites.
  • Being a public representative of the collective and its values[8]

All Guerrilla Translators are subject to the same responsibilities outlined above. Furthermore, as full committed members, they are also expected to take on the following responsibilities:

  • Evaluating (via vote) Transition Translators
  • Mentoring Transition Translators, and continual learning.
  • Declare a ‘vote-by-credit’ vote when there is a tie or block ( see here).

Conclusions

To be clear, Transition Translators are considered Guerrilla Translators on trust. As you see, the Dating Phase gradually incorporates the same rights and responsibilities of being a fully committed Guerrilla Translator but the nine-month period is used to build familiarity (with the collective's procedures and people) and trust.

While we feel that it is very important to recognize and honor the prior effort and investment of more longstanding and experienced members, we are unequivocally opposed to unjustified hierarchical relations and power asymmetries. Good intentions are assumed during the Dating Phase and Transition Members are treated with extra care and attention, as if they were "virtual" Guerrilla Translators. However, the gradual process ensures that all members of the collective can get to know each other and be clearly understood, while the health of the collective is protected from potential disruptions and/or misunderstandings.

  1. Transition Translators are considered Guerrilla Translators but, for the purposes of this document we will use "Transition Translators" when speaking about members going through the Dating Phase and, simply, Guerrilla Translators to refer to full members
  2. Other Guerrilla spin-off collectives using the same basic governance model will have their corresponding quotas of pro-bono work whether it's code, illustration, video work, graphic design etc
  3. The complete manual for Guerrilla Translation pro-bono work can be found at The Tao of the Guerrilla Translator
  4. In GT that means Toggl, Slack, Loomio, Trello and The Wiki and how they interact. Our current mid-term strategy calls for all these to be substituted by an Open Source platform designed for this model. Loomio and elements of Mediawiki, being open source, would be grandfathered into this platform.
  5. Dating members and their corresponding GT Buddies are free to break the lists of milestones into discrete chunks, whether weekly or monthly. This is done following the Dating member's preference, as some may prefer to work on all goals concurrently, while others may opt for a more sequential approach. The goal is to archive all milestones to the best of their ability and before the end of quarter, but the concrete ways of getting there are tweaked to individual needs and preferences
  6. Of course, teaching, as described in the Feynman technique, is the best way of learning
  7. Dating translators can choose their own pro-bono material (as long as they have already accrued 800 pro bono credits), but this needs to be approved by committed members
  8. Stage three dating members may also do this if proficient enough after consulting with full members