Blogger of the Week: Elena Ignatova

Posted by Elia Varela Serra to Global Voices Online

Although today’s Blogger of the Week is not technically a blogger, she’s well known in the Macedonian blogosphere for her work at Global Voices Online in Macedonian, where she’s a translator and also the founding editor. Moreover, she’s also the editor of Global Voices in Albanian, and an avid blog reader.

Her name is Elena Ignatova, she’s a 24 year old internet activist from Skopje, and we had the chance to meet her in the Global Voices Summit in Budapest, where she acted as a true ambassador of her country with many participants who had never met anyone from Macedonia. We talked a bit to her about her work, her involvement with Global Voices and the Macedonian blogosphere, among other things. Keep on reading.


Elena with Mialy, GV author for Madagascar, Cristina of Voces Bolivianas and Catalina of Hiperbarrio (Photo by Sipakoa)

-How did you decide to start translating Global Voices posts?
I went to a conference in Zagreb and I met Alice Backer there who was presenting Lingua and was asking for more volunteers to translate. I had never heard about Global Voices before, but I found it very interesting. So after a few more conversations with her I decided to start translating Global Voices into Macedonian and Albanian.

When I found out about the project I immediately thought it would enrich the Macedonian and Albanian online content with interesting information, coming from the people and not from the media. On the other hand, it’s also a great way to tell the world what is happening here.

-Ambitious intentions!
At first I was thinking about starting only a Macedonian Lingua site, but then many people suggested that it would be great to have it in Albanian as well, so I decided to do both with the help of my colleagues from work.

-So when did you start and how many people are involved with these two sites?
We started translating in January this year, and the official launch of the sites was a month later. At the moment we are four translators for Macedonian and only one for Albanian. I would like to find more volunteers, but it’s always hard to convince people to volunteer their time and to keep them motivated.

-How is the blogosphere in Macedonia, and what are the main issues that concern them?
It’s quite active for such a small country (Macedonia has 2 million inhabitants), I think there are more than 200 posts a day on average. The main issues bloggers talk about are national politics, NATO, Greece :) .

Maybe these have been the hot issues lately because we had early parliamentary elections and because of all the problem with Greece, so most posts were about these topics for the last few months. But now when things are cooling down, they are writing more about everyday things and their personal interests.

-Are you a blogger yourself?
No, I’m just a blog reader. With my work, studies, translating for GV, etc. I really don’t have time! I’m very active in other social media such as Facebook, but after the GV Summit in Budapest I’m seriously thinking of starting one :)

-What are your favorite blogs?
There a lot of interesting ones, but if someone wants to read something from the Macedonian blogosphere, they can visit the platform that connects most of the bloggers Blogeraj.

-So what do you do when you’re not translating?
I work for an independent, non-partisan NGO called Metamorphosis. Its main goals are the development of democracy and prosperity by promoting a knowledge-based economy and an information society in Macedonia. We are doing all sorts of things, like working with Creative Commons Macedonia, promoting the use of internet, privacy issues etc. My involvement with Global Voices is also part of my work with Metamorphosis.

-Why do you think it’s important to increase access to internet and to online media?
It’s important for people to get the information’s they need. With internet and online media it’s very easy to get to everything you want, and much quicker. For students, it’s essential to use the internet as a resource, but that applies also to all people.

-What do you do in your spare time?
I’m studying computer science, majoring in internet and mobile technologies

-What is your wish for the future of the Macedonian and Albanian Lingua sites?
That they both get connected, so that you know when a post translated in Macedonian is also transalted in Albanian and viceversa. It is essential for people in Macedonia to know about the Albanian version, to give them an alternative.

If you are a speaker of either Macedonian and Albanian and would like to be part of their fantastic teams, or if you would just like to contribute somehow, please contact Elena at elenaignatova [at] gmail [dot] com