Introductions (and motivations)

I’m Kyle Copas, the communications manager at the GBIF Secretariat in Copenhagen. I’m a U.S. native, and with my shoddy schoolboy French and pidgen Sp-italian romance languages, I’m no match for anyone in this group. But given our shared mission of making biodiversity data available to anyone anywhere, I’m fascinated by the potential impact of reducing language barriers across our community.

And I get to learn in the meantime—now I can transliterate and sound out the Cyrillic forms in Russian!

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I’m Carole Sinou, node and data manager for Canadensys ( I’m French (proudly coming from Brittany) and have moved to Montréal in 2005. I’m still living there and have the chance to live in a bilingual environment, which I love.
I’ve discovered a passion for translation during my first year working for Canadensys, when I had to translate the entire website from English to French. It has been a great way to practice!
I’m also speaking a little bit of Spanish but I’m better in reading it rater that speaking or writing.
And I know few words in Breton, the traditional Celtic language that was spoken in Brittany. I wish to be able to learn it at some point in my life :slight_smile:

I’m highly motivated by the challenges that some translations are, by the feeling that I’m helping removing barriers and by the that I am part of a great community.


I’m William Ulate, currently based in St. Louis, Missouri, working as Data Manager for the World Flora Online ( project at the Center for Biodiversity Informatics in the IT Division of the Missouri Botanical Garden. For a while, I’ve been interested in promoting Biodiversity Informatics, and particularly now, living outside my country, I like to address any differences for my Region (Latin America) in availability and accessibility of data, tools, services and documentation. Therefore, I’m also a member of TDWG (Biodiversity Information Standards Organization), CRBio (a national NGO in Costa Rica) and this nice group of Translators. :relaxed:


I’m Miguel Vega and I work as a Communication Officer at GBIF Spain but I also carry out project management and training activities. I’m from southern Spain (Andalusia) and my accent when I’m speaking Spanish is not the standard one in my country. Also, many of the words I use are new for my workmates who are continuously learning more about the Andalusian dialect :sweat_smile:
I’ve been studying English and French for many years but languages are one of the weaknesses in the Spanish educational system. So, although I was living in the UK for a year, I still find some difficulties when I speak English. Also, after half of my life without practising French, I completely forgot this language which I hope to learn again in the future.

I know how hard is not being able to access relevant information because of language barriers. Also, I really enjoy doing translations to my native language and see how the same thing can be told in so many different ways. So, if I can help the Spanish-speaking GBIF community to overcome those barriers at the same time I carry out a work I enjoy, I’m definitely in :blush:


I’m Paula Zermoglio, from Argentina. I was born and lived most of my life in Buenos Aires, so I guess you could call me “porteña” even if I live in Bariloche now :mountain_snow:. Spanish is my mother tongue, but be aware I use “vos” and not “tu”, ever :wink:. I’m part of the VertNet team and work closely with the GBIF and TDWG communities.

I love languages (music included), although I have not had the time/opportunity to delve into as many and as much as I would have liked. I started to learn English as a young child, but not at school, it was not “normal” to have English classes for everyone back then. In highschool, I had the privilege of having English, French and Latin classes for a couple of years, and I took a couple of Italian courses out of my own curiosity. Sadly, my Italian has mostly vanished for lack of practice, and needless to say I have not spoken in Latin with anyone for so so many years. I do keep my English and French somewhat current, though :upside_down_face:, the latter helped by having lived in France for a year and a half as I was completing a dual PhD.

I have a strong belief that languages are not just sets of ordered symbols, but a reflection of the idiosyncrasy of the people who speak them. Science and related topics are already difficult for many of us, imagine when (almost) all of it comes in a foreign language, charged with cultural implications and assumptions. As a Latin American and a scientist, I would like to help finding new avenues to bring knowledge to people more broadly, and that includes making it available in their own language. Quoting Mandela: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”.

I’m thankful to GBIF, and @kcopas in particular, for their hard work trying to open up the network to other languages, and I would love to contribute to these efforts to the best of my abilities :blush:

A rhetorical question…: why am I writing this introduction in English?


Hi, I’m Annie Ørum-Kristensen, administrative assistant and support to communications at the GBIF Secretariat in Copenhagen. MA in International Business Communication, French and European Studies, my interests have always circulated around culture, language and identity. Born and raised in Denmark, but my mother is French (from Guérande @csinou ) I grew up speaking French and spending every summer in Bretagne and I don’t remember learning the language a part from my studies at University. My parents met and fell in love in the US before moving to DK and establishing a family. English, Danish and French was flying around the dinner table when I grew up. We celebrate Thanksgiving, Valentines day and the best of French and Danish holidays. During my ERASMUS year in Nice I got to learn a lot of Italian through new friends, but I also had provençau on my schedule. My first language love will always be Brazilian Portuguese because of my first solo travel there when I was 19 (I would really love to learn it one day). What I enjoy and love the most about working at GBIF Secretariat is the cultural diversity and how I can get to practice and listen to so many different languages in my daily work and interactions with colleagues and GBIF community (I really miss being in the office after 3 months of lock down)


My name is Iryna Yatsiuk, I’m a GBIF translator, mentor and participant of the BioDATA project ( I was born, went to school and got my BA and MS in Mycology in the Eastern Ukraine. As many people from this region, I’m bilingual, meaning that I speak both native Ukrainian and Russian. I studied English at a public school, so I’m far from being a really fluent speaker, but I love this language and, well, self-educate whenever the opportunity arises. Also I gained some experience in translating from English to Slavic languages by several years of part-time working at translation agencies and publishing houses.
As a mycologist, I have been interested in studying biodiversity since my first field practice in the 1st year of university. Since then, as far as I remember, not a single year passed without the nice fieldwork. Now I’m doing my PhD on taxonomy of myxomycetes in Estonia and happy to learn new skills and research methods.

In the beginning of the 2020 we formed the group of 4 volunteer ukrainian biologists for localization of the GBIF website into Ukrainian, and now the most essential part of it is finally completed.
So why translating GBIF into Ukrainian language was (and is) so important to us?

First of all, there are many wonderful environmentalists, either involved in scholar research, collections management or amateur studies in Ukraine, and we want to assist them in overcoming language barriers. We believe that it will facilitate the two-way data exchange and increase local scientific capacity for biodiversity research, as well as promote biodiversity knowledge in local communities.
Secondly, although Ukraine currently is not a GBIF participant country, it is our conviction that such step should be taken in the near future. So the localization of the website is a good step to demonstrate the authorities and desicion makers how the data easily can be managed and used for practical applications.

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