Translating PILLARS

PILLARS Guides are designed so that they can easily be translated. Guides have been produced in over 80 languages around the world. Alternative illustrations (for either African, Asian or Latin American use) can be inserted into many of the Guides.

  • Organisations can find people with experience in translation who can do the work for them. These people should have a good understanding of the target audience to ensure they use appropriate vocabulary.
  • Alternatively ordinary people, who are committed to community development work, can learn how to translate and then how to write new Guides in small groups during a series of three workshops over the period of about a year.  

The workshops bring together a number of people who are committed to community development. Between 20 to 30 people are recommended to take part in the workshops.

Participants work in small groups of 3 or 4 people to carry out the translation work and to discuss key points. The materials are copyright-free, allowing certain pages or illustrations to be changed or adapted to meet local needs. The first two workshops concentrate on team building, encouraging translation and writing skills, field testing the materials and encouraging a sense of ownership and pride in the local language. During the third workshop, participants write their own PILLARS Guide on a previously selected topic and plan how to manage affairs in the future, if possible forming a local language committee.

The PILLARS workbook (PDF 870 KB) provides practical information on all aspects of planning the series of three workshops, selecting participants, running the workshops and follow up.

Guidelines for translating (PDF 36 KB)

Guidelines for field testing (PDF 8 KB)

PILLARS consultants

During the pilot period, Tearfund has equipped a number of independent consultants to support organisations through a process of producing and using PILLARS in local languages. Contact for more information. 

Language translations available 

A number of organisations have translated some of the PILLARS guides. In order to prevent duplication of work and to facilitate networking, here is a list of the translations that we are aware of, together with contact details when available. Tearfund hold stocks of the French, Spanish and Portuguese translations.

A CD Rom is available from Tearfund which contains PDFs of all the PILLARS Guides in four languages, together with the Facilitation skills workbook, the PILLARS workbook, the design files and alternative images. Contact for more information. 

Learning about PILLARS 
PILLARS conference report: summarises the learning of the international conference (PDF 238 KB) held in Chiang Rai 2005 for partners and consultants involved in producing and using PILLARS guides in their development work. Includes progress updates and plans to develop PILLARS in different countries, ideas for developing contextualised strategies for using and embedding PILLARS into organisational vision and strategy and ideas for fundraising and networking.
PILLARS workshop reports: examples of how partners in Ethiopia (PDF 53 KB), Cameroon (PDF 125 KB), and Brazil (PDF 36 KB) have facilitated training in translation, writing and facilitation skills.

Baseline survey: a survey specifically designed to capture the information needs and priorities of potential PILLARS groups prior to the translation, writing or distribution of PILLARS guides: 

Ideas for assessing the impact (PDF 7 KB) of PILLARS Guides on community groups

Local language committees – a useful sheet (PDF 6 KB) to record information about the distribution of the Guides.