Last July, our contributor Milena Parotti was interviewed by Giulia Calvi, one of the editors and contributors of The Password, a newspaper managed by student volunteers at the University of Turin.
By Giulia Calvi / 25.08.2021
Online, there is a virtual meeting point between the communities of the European Union: the online magazine Meeting Halfway. One of its distinct features resides in the translation of articles into many different languages to overcome the physical and linguistic barriers, so that we can create a true “virtual space” of readers scattered across Europe. Milena is one of the newspaper’s Italian contributors (as well as a former member of The Password) and in the following interview, she explores the multicultural reality of MH with us.
How and where did the idea for Meeting Halfway come from?
Meeting Halfway began in 2012, upon the initiative of a group of budding, young journalists from all over Europe. The magazine quickly became a website where each article was translated into as many languages as possible. The original idea was to tell European stories in the broadest sense, and not just limited to the borders of the EU. I use the word “stories” because Meeting Halfway aims to write not only political and topical articles, but also and above all, stories about young Europeans, travel, traditions, gastronomy and much more.
What is your role in the newspaper?
I started in 2017 as a translator from English and German to Italian. Then, in early 2019, I joined the editorial team as head of social media. Today, MH is trying to reinvent itself; my role now is to develop internal communication and to try and involve as many contributors as possible (all of which are volunteers) from different languages and countries.
What does it mean to you to work as part of a multilingual and multicultural team? How does this influence your writing?
It is a great challenge, but also a great satisfaction. It is nice to start an online meeting and see names from all over Europe. For the articles, after a first revision of the original, we proceed with the translations; we are very lucky because we have very well trained and passionate translators. Generally, as soon as an article has a translation into at least three or four languages, including English, we publish it.
In which languages does Meeting Halfway translate? Are you looking to expand this number further?
Our website has more than 20 languages, from Croatian to Bulgarian, from Catalan to Macedonian. Unfortunately, we do not always have translators for all languages, but recently, we almost always manage to translate into about eight different languages, and this is already an excellent result. In addition, the number of languages is increasing, as in the case of Bulgarian, which does not yet have its own page, but already appears on our homepage. Personally, I regret not having translators for the Nordic languages, but at the same time it is a real success to have several from Eastern Europe.
Since Europe is now home to people from all over the world, have you ever thought about extending Meeting Halfway to other continents?
No, we never thought of that. In fact, we are looking at re-evaluating our slogan “Where Europe gets together”, to give a more precise and specific definition of what we want to communicate. Meeting Halfway aims to be a true meeting point for young Europeans, their stories, and ideas.
Where has the newspaper been most successful?
Although our social media profiles give special visibility to English translations, we are always surprised to see the newspaper’s success in Eastern Europe. We see this especially in the number of aspiring Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian translators who contact us to join the editorial team.
How can you get involved with the editorial team?
It’s very simple, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t ask for a CV, we are just an editorial team of young volunteers. However, we very much appreciate receiving a brief description of the candidate, to get to know what motivates them to join MH and, in the case of translators, their competencies in the languages in question. In addition, we are not only looking for editors and translators, but also aspiring social media directors, WordPress experts and illustrators.
In the profile of your authors and translators at the end of the articles, each explains what Europe is, in their opinion. What does Europe represent for Meeting Halfway?
That’s a question we’ve asked ourselves as well. In fact, in 2020, we decided to write an article summarising all our ideas on “what is Europe” and we published it on Europe Day, on 9th May, in an article entitled “Europe Day – what is Europe for us”. The article appeared partly in English and partly in multilingual form; you can find it here.
This article was previously published by The Password and is available here.