Featured Volunteer: S.Mason makes being trilingual look easy

"I think Kiva is doing a great job keeping in touch with the volunteers, given how remote and all over the world we are. They still manage to engage us through events like the holiday marathon and the other forms of communication such as the newsletter."

City: Toronto, Canada

Languages: French, Spanish

Team: Qui Va Bien

Time with Kiva: 1 year and 2 months

Outstanding contributions to Kiva:

S. Mason translates French and Spanish loans for Kiva. She initially started with translating French loans and also decided to assist with the Spanish loans. Over the holidays, she was one of our top translators after adding Spanish to her languages. She has translated a massive 102 loans in the month of December alone, and has topped 450 loans in total!

Here's a short Q&A with this remarkable volunteer:

How did you find out about Kiva?

I first heard about Kiva through a friend who is a Kiva lender. I looked up the website and saw that Kiva was looking for French-speaking translators. I applied and have been translating for over a year. I recently added Spanish to my languages and now translate both French and Spanish loans.

What is your favorite partner or region?

I really enjoy the variety of loans that I get to translate coming from different Field Partners in different regions. I enjoy translating the profiles of borrowers involved in diverse sectors. Since I was in Nicaragua for some time, I am always happy to see loans from there, and from the cities I had visited while I was living and volunteering there.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed.

I have translated many interesting profiles, but the one that stuck with me was a borrower from Africa who wanted to buy bananas for producing beer. I had no idea that banana beer even existed! I researched on the internet and to my surprise, I found that beer could be made from bananas!

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?

My two favorite places are France and Canada. Since my mother is from France, I frequently visit my family there and really enjoy meeting them, spending long hours eating and talking, laughing over five-hour-long French meals. I enjoy being in Paris. The last time I visited Paris was a year ago.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.

Here are two unusual facts about myself, completely unrelated. Although I lived in Canada, since my mother was French I didn't speak any English till I was about four years old. Also, I volunteered for the Red Cross in Nicaragua for five months, where I lived with a Spanish host family. I had learnt Spanish in school and my time in Nicaragua and living with the host family made me comfortable with the language. Living and working in Nicaragua was a really great experience.

Interested in volunteering for Kiva? We’re always looking for volunteers with translation or editing skills, and we’ll soon be starting our search for Team Leader candidates to support up to 30 volunteer editors or translators. To find out more and get notifications on when our various applications will be opening, go to our Volunteer Opportunities page.

About the author

Nida Jafri

Nida Jafri was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. After completing her Bachelors in Economics and International Relations from the University of Sussex, England in 2008, she returned home and joined the banking sector where she worked for the product development team for debit cards and mobile banking. It was there that her interest in attempting to reach the unbanked segment developed. After completing two years in the corporate world, she pursued her passion of teaching high school students, Development Studies and Sociology. Her life in the last two months has drastically changed, leaving family behind, getting married and moving to an absolutely new country. Living in the lovely city of San Francisco has been an adventure bringing her the good fortune of coming closer to her goal of working for global economic development, by becoming a Kiva intern first working for 6 months with the Global Partnerships Team and now working for another 6 months with the Review and Translation Team. In these few months she has been on a path of self- discovery taking a fond interest in cooking, baking, salsa lessons, running and playing soccer.