Our translation center in Nairobi: An update

Swahili Translations

July saw the completion by our Health Translation Center in Nairobi, Kenya, of the translation of some 250,000 words of high-level health information. The content was written by the Open University (UK) to train community health workers in the Swahili-speaking regions of East Africa. The completed modules are Prenatal Care, Labour & Delivery Care, and Postnatal Care. Other modules are in the pipeline, and these are about topics such as Infant Care Nutrition and Family Planning.

The team also recently completed the Swahili translation of ten videos on New Born Care. These instructional videos have been conceptualized and produced by Deb Van Dyke’s Global Health Media (http://globalhealthmedia.org/newborn/videos ).  In total the team has translated more than 20 videos. The work involved the translation of the English captions (subtitles) and putting the Swahili subtitles in the video, as well as recording the narrative, with Rodha Moraa, one of the translation team members, serving as the ‘voice actor’.

The translation team, recruited and trained in the summer of 2012, has now developed into a super group of experienced health translators. The team is also rather unique, as in East Africa there is no other group of experienced linguists and health workers whose skills and educational backgrounds are combined to work on the translation of such material. We are speaking with international as well as local NGOs about involving our translation team in their projects.


During the coming months we will be investigating the possibility of a program called ‘Training-In-A-Box’.  All training material, lecture notes and exercises will be evaluated, and if relevant, updated. The material will then be organized into one package – one ‘Box’ as it were –  which TWB can use to support the translator training of linguists and health workers all over the world.

The medical modules concern 15-20 ‘Africa-relevant’ topics, including pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, bilharzia, as well as topics from the social medicine field, such as malnutrition, unsafe abortion, female genital mutilation, and more. Each module has between 15 and 50 slides, and we are in the process of typing in the narrative. The material also includes a large section about the profession of translation.

“The Training-In-A-Box program is an attempt to bring together our know-how and best practices from years of training a host of translators in many different countries,” says TWB President Lori Thicke. “I’m sure it’s going to make the starting up of new teams in the future a whole lot easier.”

Thank you Fund-A-Translator Charity Ride Sponsors!

The second Fund-a-Translator Charity Ride, developed and organized by TextPartner in Poland, took place earlier this summer.  Our dedicated cyclists organized a ride through five countries in eastern Europe for a total of 589 kilometers!  Each kilometer was available to sponsors for $5. The purpose of the annual ride is to raise funds and awareness for our trainees in Kenya.  Each $1,000 raised helps us train a translator for a year.

This year the event was so successful that the team raised the $2,945 for the ride and then kept going beyond $3,000, ending up with a total of 652 sponsored kilometers ($3,260).   As promised, they rode the additional kilometers in an extra ride to make sure every sponsored kilometer was cycled.

The TextPartner team conceived of the charity ride in 2012 and did their first ride that year to the ELIA conference in Budapest. Plans are underway for the 2014 ride and the route will be announced soon!