Who Translates Your Letters?

Greetings, good wishes, and the expression of love and hope to a special person are contained in the letters you write to your sponsored child. Letters are a great opportunity to enter the world of your child and family, a wonderful experience and adventure that ties the ties your lives together.

The Honduras Compassion office receives an average of 15,000 to 18,000 letters per month. The handling of so many letters and packages requires a well-trained correspondence team. This group of people takes their job seriously and knows well how to manage the pressure of receiving so many letters. Every one of them is an expert in every process and committed to keeping up the good work.

two women staging child letters

Jackie Rivera has been in charge of the translation process for nearly two years. Jackie’s responsibilities are testing and evaluating the translators, training them, distributing and receiving the letters, and coordinating payment for the work performed.

“Each letter has a great value and represents a child with dreams and hopes, and behind the child, a family willing to welcome a new person in their lives.”

The Honduras office has a group of 25 translators who translate every document from Spanish to English. Most of the translators are professionals who have a steady job and do this activity to generate extra income. Full-time students also help translate and depend on the income to finance their education.

Jackie looks for people who are fluent in English, experienced translators and active church members. Every potential translator takes a test on English grammar, structure and idiomatic expressions. They must receive above 90 percent to become a translator.

Once the translator is selected, he or she goes through training before beginning. The translators are informed about their responsibilities, what is expected from them, their deadlines, and essential information about our ministry.

Most translators get 100 to 150 letters per week. Translators who have had good performance and whose weekly grade is 98 percent or above are rewarded with more letters. A seven-day period of time is given to the translators to complete the translations.

Translators are also asked to look for potential stories as they read and translate the letters.

“We ask them to detect potential stories through the letters as we want to share with others what this ministry is doing in Honduras,” says Jackie.

Ruth has been translating for Compassion for three years now and is currently employed by USAID in Honduras. She translates approximately 200 letters per week.

“I do really enjoy translating as this activity keeps my mind busy. It is great to hear from the children in the development centers, their interests, goals, hobbies and about their communities.

“I know that this ministry works with children and churches and that it is a Christ-centered organization. What I like the most about my participation in this process is that my work is important to facilitate the communication between the sponsor and the child, and that is why I feel committed to do my best in what I’m doing right now.”

woman translating a child letter

The correspondence team is aware of the power and importance of each letter. The work never stops as the children continue writing to their sponsors and the letters from abroad keep coming down to the Honduras office.

The simple act of writing is easy, but many sponsors get caught up with the busyness in their lives and neglect this area that gives so much hope to every boy and girl in our program.

Children simply become overjoyed as they get letters and photos; these let them feel that they are special and loved, and that is why the Honduras office applies themselves with excellence to connecting lives through letters.

48 Comments |Add a comment

  1. cece May 23, 2021

    Hi guys, I see there is a seven day period for translations in Honduras . but I was wondering about translation times for Ethiopia.

    I had a letter posted as “In translation” on ~5/5 and it is now 5/23. Anyone have an idea on when the translation might complete?

    1. Grace May 24, 2021

      Hi, Cece. Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog! Because this article was written several years ago, even for Honduras – this information may be incorrect at this time. As far as translation time it can greatly vary. Although some of our country’s national offices, such as Honduras, can get a letter translated quicker, there are a lot of considerations that go into this. It depends on many factors including: the time it takes for letters to get delivered to that country, the number of child letters translators receive per week, how many churches they service in the country, how many translators are on staff, and many more! Currently, with the pandemic, all letter processes are delayed on or on hold as many of the offices are operating at limited capacity. If you want to check out the following link https://www.compassion.com/crisis/covid-19.htm , you can get more updated information about how each country is operating amid Covid-19. Ethiopia specifically currently has a longer delay period for letters. If your letter is ever in translation for more than three months, we can make sure that there is not a glitch in our system and that the letter is being translated. We appreciate your patience during this time as many of our national offices adjust to the crisis. I hope this information helps and if you have any questions for your specific account or kiddos, please email us at [email protected]. Thanks so much for writing your sponsor children and supporting our ministry! ?

  2. Barbara Layton January 25, 2014

    Dear Triana,
    Thank you so much for being a translator for Compassion International. I sponsor two children one in East Indonesia and the other in Honduras. I can understand how difficult it may be at time reading our handwriting and also the children. What a blessing you are to so many sponsors and their children. Thank you again for doing this for so many. You are a blessing and I pray Jesus will protect you and your family.
    Prayerfully yours.

  3. Triana Sondakh January 19, 2014

    Hello…I’m a translator of Compassion East Indonesia. I really enjoy doing this task eventhough I’ve to deal with the deadlines sometimes. I always find it’s difficult when I’ve to translate the poor handwritings of some sponsored children yet I always enjoy it for I love Linguistics. Being Compassion translator is so amazing. My Mom used to be the sponsored child of Compassion too so I ever heard how her letters were translated by a woman living nearby her house. It’s such a blessing to join this freelance job. God is really good that I can help my husband growing up our children through this job. Now I’m translating 153 letters and I’ve to submit them next week. Praise Jesus! God bless translators.

  4. Kees boer November 27, 2012

    Translating is not an easy task. I had to translate a few letters while in Bolivia. Somehow a couple of letters from Holland were in Dutch and somehow they had made through the system without getting translated to English first. So, I translated them. Otherwise the letters would have to be send back to Compassion Holland for translation. It took me a while. I can’t imagine translating 200 letters, but the translators do this. I remember them coming into the Compassion Office every week to bring their translated letters and to pick up new letters. They are amazing!!!

  5. Julie August 5, 2012

    My family supported a child in Ethiopia for many years and now we support a girl named Kenia from Nicaragua. I am a spanish (and photography) major in college and I love to read her letters as she wrote them in spanish. It is so cute to see her write about “mi corazoncito,” my little heart. Reading things the way she wrote them makes her a little bit dearer to me. It is wonderful that compassion gives jobs to local people translating but I can’t help but wish I could do so too! I have been blessed reading Kenia’s letters and would love to help others be blessed too by translating.

  6. Alexandria November 6, 2011

    I’m a fairly new sponsor, and my child only recently turned 4 years old. I’ve only gotten one letter from him so far, which is understandable; he’s so young, after all.

    Getting that first letter though made me the happiest I could remember in a long, long time. I showed it to every person I knew, and even took it to school to show my Spanish teacher (my child lives in Guatemala).

    I noticed there was a mistake in the translation though; it wasn’t a big deal, just that one sentence wasn’t put into English the same as it was in Spanish. It was something little, like in Spanish my child had said he liked to sing, but the English said he liked to eat.

    This was disappointing at first. I thought that maybe the Compassion staff didn’t really care about my child’s letter, or that they were too busy to pay attention. I thought that if I, just a letter writer, noticed the mistake, why didn’t the professional translator? Did they even care?

    After reading this article, though, I realize there really are a lot of children out there, all trying to send letters to their loving sponsor families. And I also see that Compassion works as hard as they possible can to get all the letters done, and not just done to a timeline- they do everything they can to make the words count. For them to truly mean something, because to those kids they really do mean everything.

    I could never imagine translating that many letters in my lifetime, yet alone in a week! Keep up the amazing work Compassion. God bless you for what you’re doing!

  7. Rebecca August 30, 2011

    I’m able to write in Spanish and would like to send my child direct letters – is this possible and how would I know where to send them or address them appropriately so that they receive them? He is in El Salvador. Also, can I send them care packages and Christmas presents?

  8. Hannah August 23, 2011

    Can I send a Bible to my sponser child? I will send a spanish Bible if allowed.

    1. Becky August 23, 2011

      Children get Bibles from their project paid for by Compassion at a certain age (I don’t recall what it is right now). I don’t think mailing a Bible works with the restrictions CI has on goods mailed to comply with customs requirements in other countries:

      From that webpage: Because of strict mailing and customs regulations in the various countries where Compassion works, we cannot send our field offices items that exceed 8-1/2″ x 11″ and 1/4″ thick.

  9. Octavian June 13, 2011

    I am a translator from Bangladesh and really I am enjoying this nice work. Really its nice to do works for children.

    1. Patty Morales June 13, 2011

      Hello Octavian, greetings from a fellow translator in Honduras. Blessings.

  10. Hannah June 8, 2011

    Can I send packages to my sponser child?

    1. Patty Morales June 8, 2011

      Many sponsors send packages to their children. they send mostly stuff like books, pictures and stickers. It would be a good idea if the books were written in the child’s language.

  11. Hannah June 8, 2011

    could I use notebook paper and just use one side of the page?

    1. Patty Morales June 8, 2011

      As translator I have seen many letters written in different kinds of paper, notebook paper, decorative stationary, lots of different kinds. So, I guess, yes, you can use notebook paper to write a letter

  12. Stacy Keath May 2, 2011

    Since mail is translated, do the children receive the original piece of mail as well as the translation? What if we speak/write their language and send it in their native language will they receive the original then?

    1. Shaina May 3, 2011

      Yes, the translation is written on the letter you send. That’s why we ask that you only write on half of the sheet- the other half is used for the translation. You’re welcome to write in your child’s language, but know that it may still need to be translated due to differences in dialect.

  13. Michelle Rausch February 20, 2011

    I’m ever so grateful for the translators!! My first sponsored child is from Honduras, and we have spent 3 years together… hopefully many more! Our relationship has progressed because of the letters. I, too, wondered if my letters were too long….. and I’m so grateful to read on here that the translators don’t groan when they see a longish letter!!! :o)

    I was wondering: If I sent along an extra packet of stickers or a blank journal or something and marked it “For the Translator”….. would the translator get it? I have done that before, but didn’t know if they got the items or if they were just sent to my child… I figure the translators may have children who would like a little something extra….. or could even use the item themselves!

    1. Patty Morales February 21, 2011

      Thank for your comment Michelle. I have never seen anything marked “For the Translator”, I’m sure that if it is marked that way it will be delivered to the translator because it is as the sponsor wishes. Maybe you should write an additional letter to Jackie so she can know what to do with the stuff marked “For the Translator”. God bless you!!!

  14. Jason February 16, 2011

    Thanks so much to Angel and her post on long letters. I am another one who’s had more than my share of long letters.
    I’ve been so blessed by the work of Compassion Honduras. I can truly say the connectivity made possible by the translators has been life changing. I send lots of letters and appreciate the diligent way they get processed. I know it’s a lot of work but both sponsor and child are truly rewarded. Angel – Please give all Compassion Honduras my sincere THANKS.

  15. Patty Morales February 16, 2011

    As one of the translators for Compassion Honduras, all I can say that I feel honored to do this job. I do this full time and I take it as a great responsibility to both the sponsors and the children, but mostly to God. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve in this ministry. God bless you all!!!!!

    1. Barbara Layton February 17, 2011

      Patty,God bless you too. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job. It shows each time I receive a letter from my sponsored child. I hope he also thanks you for what you do for Compassion. You are so right we do all of this for God to receive all the glory. What a loving Father we have. PRAISE HIM!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Patty Morales February 17, 2011

        You are Welcome Barbara, I just wish the letters didn´t take so long to reach both sides!!!

        1. suyapa April 15, 2011

          I´m one of the translators from Honduras, I have been doing this for 2 1/2 years now, I´m really blessed for this, this is a full job for me, so you see sponsors, I help you keep in touch with your sponsored child, and you help me to raise up my children, by having them on a good school, give them good meals, and most of all being at home with them, teaching them, and watching them grow up. this is a very rewarding ministry, i have cried with you when your child tells you a story about his life or when you write them back telling them something about your kids, or about a relative. this is a great chance for me to show god´s love just by translating a letter, they might be long, but at the end those words will make change in a kid´s heart and mind. hey! when one of my kids looks at the envelope and they see the stickers, momy i want that too. and i say to them: nope, this is for a very special kid and she or he is expecting it. . well thank you all in the name of Yashuaj. (jesus in hebrew). Suyapa Godoy, from Honduras.

          1. Brenda Grolle April 15, 2011

            God bless you for the work you do, suyapa!

            1. suyapa April 23, 2011

              you wellcome Brenda, its a blessing to serve you and yoru family and this beutiful kid of yours. Suyapa

        2. Jason February 17, 2011

          Patty –
          Sorry I missed your post yesterday. My post of Feb 16 @ 7:11 PM
          is for you also. I hope all of you feel the joy of the effects of your
          job as it is truly remarkable. There are some jobs that make a
          DIFFERENCE. May God richly bless you as you work for him in
          his kingdom.

          1. Patty Morales February 17, 2011

            God bless you too, Jason!!!

  16. Barbara Layton February 14, 2011

    First a HUGE THANK YOU!!!! to all the translators in the compassion Honduras office. What a blessing you are to me and my little sponsored child. I email most of my letters. I was wondering if my sponsored child would prefer me writing instead of emailing? I have no children of my own so this little boy is so special and I love him like he was my own. Blessing to you Honduras.

  17. Sarah February 13, 2011

    Wow, I was amazed to read of all who, as I, feel my letters are too long and wonder just what they say to my child. With the cultural differences I wonder how our wording comes across, saying what was meant to be said. I do not have family that I can talk about and I am, excrpt for work, basically a recluse. In my last letter I tried rto dsescribed my normal day; wanting her to maybe tell me about her average day as I asker her. I have so many questions I feel that I could overwhelm her with my curiousity about her life. Curiousity based in an overwhelming desire to feel her life. See, this is even too long!!! I wonder too if I ovewhelm her with what I send each time. I cannot go into a store without finding something for her. 1/4th of an inch is not very thick so it takes several envelopes. I have mentioned to her that anything she does not care for give to her friends. To induce the gift of sharing in her altho’ I can in=magine that her community is a sharing comunmity and part of her culture. God bless anyone who stuck with this to its end! Words seem to mjultiplyh as I write!!!

  18. Robbie February 13, 2011

    Thank you translators!!!

  19. Angel February 10, 2011

    Hey sponsors…. WRITE LONG LETTERS….. PLEASE… i was a translator… and I also worked at Compassion HOnduras, same position as Jackie….. Kids love letters…. they feel somebody loves them every time they get a letter, or a gift, or anything else from the sponsor…

    please encourage the ones don’t write….

    1. Jason February 16, 2011

      Angel ~
      I posted minutes ago but didn’t as a reply to your post.
      Check recent postings…….sorry for the error.
      Again, Thanks

  20. Carol Hallifax February 10, 2011

    Thank the translators for their work connecting us with the children. Is there some way to make this process quicker? In the age of the internet, there must be a faster way.

  21. Michelle February 9, 2011

    It is so fun to read this article and see pictures of the Honduras office. My husband and I will be visiting in May! I can’t wait to tell these amazing people thank you in person. God bless you.

  22. Amy Sullivan February 9, 2011

    What a great post about something I often wonder about! How does the whole translating process work? Thank you!

  23. Stephanie Green February 8, 2011

    I, too, often write long letters and am very grateful for the translators everywhere who convey what I’ve written to my children.
    When visiting Tanzania last summer, I met quite a few of the Compassion Tanzania translators- they are amazing people! They told us that they enjoy doing that work because seeing what we have written to our children blesses them, too, as they see how we are all connected in Christ and they are blessed and humbled to see how much we care for these children.

    I am glad to know that incomes are able to be supplemented through translation work. Three of the wonderful people we met in TZ were not only translators for our tour and translators of letters but each of them pastored their own churches, too, so I can imagine the supplemental income is a blessing many times over to many more people than we can imagine.

  24. peter nkubi mugambi February 8, 2011


  25. mirna figueroa February 8, 2011

    bueno les deseo q sigan habiendo mas patrocinadores para estos niños de bajos recursos economicos ya q compacion es muy importante ya alimenta a estos niños en varias areas de su vida ,pero la mas important el area espiritual,q el niño tenga valores y principios , y q tengan comunion con sus patrocinadores animo es un excelente trabajo ya q yo fui maestra de estos niños un dia ,y es bello estar sirviendo ,,,,,

  26. Juli Jarvis February 7, 2011

    I am also grateful for translators every day — I can’t imagine the load they have on their shoulders, but they manage to get it done. We appreciate you so much!

  27. Joyce February 7, 2011

    What a great and wonderful responsibilities! I do wonder the same thing about long letters too because we want to write often and there is so much to say.

  28. Sarah February 7, 2011

    Marijke and Shannon, I’m also in the “Oh-No-Not-Her” Club! So glad to know I’m not the only one. It’s just that the world is such an amazing place filled with God’s wonders, I want to share it all in my letters! 🙂 Thanks for this great entry! What really impressed me was how important our letters are on many levels. We all know to write the kids to show our encouragement and love. We know that their families benefit, and the tutors, and the translators – there was a previous blog on how life-changing the letters themselves can be for the translators. I remember reading that the spouse of one translator converted to Christianity because of the Compassion correspondence. In addition to all that, I never thought that the salary paid to the translators was so important – even to the extent of helping them pay for educational expenses! More “Oh-No-Not-Her” letters! Maybe, though, I’ll divide them up… as the translators get paid per letter, it would help them to have more letters, rather than longer ones…

  29. Carmelo Crespo February 7, 2011

    As a bilingual and having to interpret Spanish speaking customers buying needs in a English dominate world at a rapid pace is very exhausting to say the least. My sponsored child is in India ; and without the blessing of having translators ; my sponsorship wouldn’t be as special and personally endearing. Thanks Guys.

  30. Melissa February 7, 2011

    May God bless the translators who work so hard to get our letters translated over so that our children can understand our words, and vise versa! What a wonderful job that would be to have – knowing how much you are helping these children.

  31. Shannon February 7, 2011

    Marijke-So glad you wrote your comment! I too write long letters and I have tried so very hard to keep them short. I too have wondered if the translators get my letters and think “oh no!!!” Our child writes us and tells us what a pleasure it is to listen to us. I am sure someone reads our letters to her, she is still pretty young. So, you are not the only one!! 🙂

  32. Marijke den Blaauwen February 7, 2011

    By reading this I start to feel a little guilty towards these translators because my letters are always very long and I just cannot keep it short.
    When I write my letters I always already hear those translators sigh: “o no, not another letter from her again, there goes my deadline!”
    Hope they can forgive me and enjoy what I write in those letters and that they are happy for my kids who receive them! 🙂

    1. Angel February 10, 2011

      Hi, please, you don’t need to feel guilty… I was a translator there, compassion Honduras, and after a year, I had Jackies position before she got it, .. Kids like to learn about their sponsors… keep writing. and no olny that, please encourage others to write…
      on behalf of the Honduran kids….

      Angel Ramirez

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