Our spotlight in October and November was shown on key members of the community. Transitioning the Mifos user interface to FreeMarker pages meant re-translating our entire software. The switch to provides us with a stable and actively maintained translation infrastructure smoothly syncing with our Git repository.  With an enthusiastic community of translators, we've been able to maintain our existing translations and are beginning to translate Mifos into an array of different languages.

From around the world the TWN community is deeply impacting the poor. Niklas Laxström, the TWN founder, keeps our infrastructure up to date and performing well. Gerard Meijssen spreads the word rallying translators to support Mifos. Béria Lima and Philippe Verdy are some of the many volunteer translators who offer up their time and talent.


The Conductor: Niklas Laxström - Helsinki, Finland

Pending his M.A. in Language Technology, Niklas is founder of as well as long-time MediaWiki volunteer and developer and president of Wikimedia, Finland.

Niklas discovered Mifos from the TWN IRC channel which promotes community supported causes.

The team at TWN has considerably improved the internationalization of Mifos by identifying translation problems in addition to making Mifos localization available to large groups of volunteer translators.

Impact on the poor

“I hope the improved localizations make Mifos more accessible to the people who need it, thus helping the poor,” Niklas says of his work’s impact. He says he finds the Mifos team work rewarding and knows that small fixes can make a big difference for translators and end users of the Mifos software.

Niklas would like the translators to let Translatewiki know when they run into a translation issue so they can fix it. "This is for translators: if you face an issue that prevents making a proper translation, for example because not enough context is given, let us know about it! You are not alone, and we can fix it so that all the translators after you, can do their work without unnecessary hurdles."

The Connector: Gerard Meijssen - Almere, the Netherlands

Gerard works on the language support needed to enable Wiki and Open Source content to operate on mobile phones. His main involvement is focused in outreach to people and organizations.

Like Niklas, Gerard also found the Mifos projects from TWN IRC.

Through his blog, Gerard spreads the word about the amazing work organizations are doing with Mifos as well as calling translators to action to help Mifos become available in more languages. 

Impact on the poor:

By promoting Wikipedias in multiple languages, the community has grown substantially improving the user experience. By making it available in more languages, users in faraway regions can adopt Mifos. 

The reward for Gerard is when "Mifos and consequently micro finance bring resources to people, to communities.”

Gerard wants the Mifos community to be sure to ask when they don’t understand the message to be translated, as it helps them understand how to improve the questions and could help translators in other languages.

To keep up to date on all of Gerard's thoughts and observations on the world, read his blog Words and What Not that is actively updated.  He frequently posts about Mifos so make sure to read those too. 

The Translator: Béria Lima - Porto, Portugal

Béria was born in Brazil, and had studied Theology and Law before discovering she really liked engineering. She moved to Portugal to study her favorite field, environmental engineering. Her main affiliation in open source projects has been editing Wikipedia since 2007 and is a founding member of Wikimedia Portugal.

She translated the last 1500 messages for the Portuguese translation of Mifos for the Leila E Release.

Impact on the Poor: Béria quotes Sam Birney “My hope is the work we are all doing with Mifos will result in high-quality, free software that enables MFIs around the world to more effectively realize the dream of empowering millions to overcome poverty.”

She says it is good to know that people in Brazil, Portugal, and Mozambique can use Mifos in his/her own language. “That is a very good thought to live with :-)"

Béria would like people in the Mifos Community to keep an open mind for others’ translations. Mifos requires special treatment in regard to translating terms.

Béria says she likes to read so much that she does so even when walking and has fallen a few time from doing so:-)


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