Translators Without Borders Appoints First Program Director

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Appointment points to growth and support from industry.

Translators without Borders today announced the appointment of Rebecca Petras to be its first Program Director and the organization’s first full-time employee. A dedicated volunteer for the past 2 ½ years, Petras brings her background in communications and management to the role as the organization strives to give more people worldwide access to vital knowledge in their languages.

The appointment points to the growth of the organization and the deep support from the translation and localization industry. “This big milestone for Translators without Borders is possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and the hard work of our volunteers,” said Lori Thicke, founder of Translators without Borders. “Rebecca has demonstrated her drive and passion for the organization, dedicating long hours to our cause, which has given us the chance to see her management and communications skills first hand. This will help us realize our vision of a world where knowledge knows no language barriers so that people can access the information they need to live healthy and productive lives.”

Propelled by over 2000 volunteers, Translators without Borders has grown by leaps and bounds in the past two years. In just over a year, Translators without Borders has initiated its automated translation portal, the Translators without Borders Translation Workspace, greatly increasing the number of words translated for non-profits. This year, Translators without Borders is on track to translate more than five million words. Additionally, in 2012, the organization opened its first training center in Africa, Nairobi's Healthcare Translators’ Training Center, and initiated a number of special projects including a medical translation project (80 articles into 80 languages) for Wikipedia.

Petras has been a board member for Translators without Borders for two years. She also has served on the executive committee as the head of marketing and communications. In April, she accompanied Thicke and two other board members to Nairobi, Kenya to assist with the Healthcare Translators’ Training Center. Petras also has years of experience in the localization industry, handling public relations and marketing for the Globalization and Localization Association, and a number of language service providers. Prior to running her own marketing business, Petras was a vice president at Ketchum International. She holds a master’s in journalism from Columbia University in the City of New York and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

“I have been very lucky to work with the dedicated volunteers that make up Translators without Borders, and I am now honored to have the opportunity to lead the charge toward further growth,” said Petras. “I hope to harness the energy of our volunteers, sponsors and in-kind donors to accelerate access to knowledge in local languages worldwide.”

About Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based nonprofit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting nonprofit organizations with a professional community of volunteer translators, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1994 in France as Traducteurs sans Frontières (now its sister organization), Translators without Borders translates more than five million words per year. In 2012, the organization established a Healthcare Translators’ Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information and to volunteer or donate, please visit: or follow on Twitter at

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Louise Law
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