Humane: Do Some Good
Translators Without Borders
Did you know that you can use your translation skills to help humanitarian organizations? This is a great way to participate on an international scale if you are not able to volunteer at a global outpost. Translators are needed for project reports, community surveys, and medical records. How can you connect your skills with a project that grabs your interest?
Thankfully, there’s Translators Without Borders, an organization that has been helping humanitarian projects enhance their communication efforts on a global scale since 2010. Actually, the organization began in Paris in 1993, when Lori Thicke and Ros Smith-Thomas co-founded Traducteurs sans frontières to provide free translations in French. In 2010, they formed Translators Without Borders in California to broaden their reach internationally.
Here is a little more about them from their website:
Translators without Borders, a US-based 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, envisions a world where knowledge knows no barriers. The mission of Translators without Borders (initially founded in France in 1993 as Traducteurs sans Frontières) is to provide people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting nonprofit organizations with our community of translators, building local language capacity and raising awareness about language barriers. Translators without Borders volunteers translate millions of words each year, focusing on three types of humanitarian translations: crisis translations needed urgently to inform people in crisis, translations that support an NGO’s operations, and translations that directly support people in need. The organization is building language capacity in East Africa through its first translator training center in Nairobi, Kenya, where trainees focus on healthcare content in Kiswahili and acquire the skills for a career in translation, and is piloting its Words of Relief crisis relief network.
How can you save millions of people from cholera? Help millions of mothers breastfeed successfully? Transfer knowledge worldwide to those who need it? The answer is simple: Language. For millions, language is the only barrier to knowledge. How would you like to receive a medical diagnosis in a language you barely understand?
Translators Without Borders is currently helping with the Ebola outbreak. Here is an excerpt from their recent press release:
Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Translators without Borders helping to save lives with CDC information in four local languages
(DANBURY, CT USA – 4 August 2014) – Translators without Borders (TWB) reports that the organization has assisted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to provide critical preventative information on the Ebola virus in local West African languages as well as French. The local language fact sheets are being used by the CDC to fight against the deadly outbreak affecting communities in Sierre Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The CDC fact sheets are specifically used for affected populations. Their objective is to inform and educate them on the Ebola virus, what they can do to protect themselves and prevent the spreading, how to recognize the symptoms, treatment, and more. The fact sheets were translated by Translator without Borders into Fulani, Krio and Mandiké, 3 local languages, as well as French, to ensure access to this essential information for as many people in the affected areas as possible.
“The need to communicate in the right language is what we advocate”, explains Rebecca Petras, Program Director for Translators without Borders. “In a crisis, communications IS aid. We like to add that the communications needs to be in the right language. Yet aid workers have too much to do during a crisis – they do not have time or the expertise to focus on translation. That is where we come in. We help where the crises occur—the Balkans during flooding, the Philippines after the typhoon, West Africa during the disease outbreak—always helping aid workers communicate more effectively in local languages.”
In addition to current crisis work, TWB is also currently piloting a global translation crisis relief network, testing what can be done on a global scale to ensure better response in the right language.
Here is a link to their newsletter which has all sorts of informative features and stories of volunteers.
Here's how you can become a sponsor.
Here is an interview with the co-founder, Lori Thicke, in The Huffington Post.