DANBURY, Conn., USA – June 28, 2020
Translators without Borders (TWB) announced the winners of its eighth annual Access to Knowledge awards. These awards celebrate individuals and organizations that commit time and expertise to the organization. The people and organizations awarded support TWB to develop, provide, and advocate for technology and services in languages and formats more people can understand.
TWB Executive Director Aimee Ansari said, “These awards mean so much more this year. COVID-19 has highlighted how critical it is for people to get knowledge and information in the right language and format.”
TWB is a non-profit organization offering language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies. A global network of professionals and advocates help TWB accomplish its mission – a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. Industry experts, partner organizations, sponsors, donors, translators, and other linguists come together to develop innovative language solutions for people who are too often marginalized because of the language they speak.
These winners represent the varied and fast-growing impact of TWB’s language services and solutions. They translated life-saving words for people affected by crises, enabled us to map languages, to give shape to our language technology projects, and raised the profile of TWB and the importance of language in a number of communities in ever-innovative ways.
In addition to the winners, there are honorable mentions for each category of the 2020 Access to Knowledge Awards.
This is awarded to an individual, group, or organization who has gone above and beyond the call-of-duty in helping Translators without Borders meet its mission.
Winner: Valérie Thirkettle
Valerie has gone above and beyond in her role as a translator donating time for the organization. She has shone the spotlight on the organization by nominating our Executive Director for awards and successfully running fundraisers for TWB’s work. Valerie was featured in this TWB blog. She embodies a concept that TWB celebrates, that “the little streams make the big rivers… volunteers contribute bits of translation and it all comes together” – Valérie Thirkettle.
Honorable Mention – Jason Spiegel
Jason Spiegel of Goodwin Procter LLP has been exceptionally helpful to the Gamayun program, providing legal advice on data sharing and licensing of language technology. This has enabled TWB to use text and audio data to develop language technology. He also helped us to license our tools and share our datasets safely. Jason steps out of his daily role to make himself available at short notice to support TWB’s efforts.
Community Hero Award
Awarded to individuals who have made a difference through their ongoing commitment to the translation of humanitarian information.
Winners – Rohingya translators team: Mahay Alam Khan (aka Mak), Ashikur Rahman, Nafiur Rahman, Farhana Sultan, and Zahiduzzaman.
This team of Rohingya translators are constant and active members of the translator community on TWB’s Kató Platform. They have worked with TWB tirelessly since the very beginning of the Rohingya refugee response in 2017 and always thrive to improve translation quality and keep the translator community engaged. The TWB team is grateful for their enthusiastic participation and input which helps us better support the Rohingya community. This group of translators was featured in our blog.
Honorable mention – Iris Soliman
Iris has been one of the most active translators and members of our Kató Platform community. Thanks to her boundless support and contributions to projects, we have been able to provide high-quality translations to our partner organizations. Her professionalism and kindness are highly praised by the Language Services Team who would like to thank Iris for making such a difference.
Awarded to an individual whose work has allowed us to significantly move the barometer in increasing language capacity within a critical region of the world.
Winner – Dr Federico M. Federici
In 2019, Federico went above and beyond his role in the INTERACT project and helped TWB, quite literally, put language on the map. Through workshops and policy research, the project helped raise awareness of TWB and language in humanitarian action among an influential group of humanitarians. Federico went on to leverage funding from University College London’s Innovation and Enterprise program to help TWB pilot a new language data and mapping project. As a direct result, TWB was able to produce maps and datasets for nine crisis-affected countries around the world, and laid a solid foundation for future mapping efforts. Federico shares a passion for TWB’s mission and is creative in helping reach the organization’s goals.
Honorable mention – Deborah Gayatri Magdalena
As IOM coordinator of the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Working Group, Deborah has been a great ally to Translators without Borders and has helped make sure language is always a key consideration in the group’s work in northeast Nigeria. She has contributed to the strategic development of language capacity in the linguistically diverse country.
Partner of the Year
Awarded to a non-profit who understands the critical link between language/translation and access to critical knowledge.
Winner – IOM Nigeria
IOM Nigeria is one of our greatest champions and supporters in northeast Nigeria. They appreciate the importance of communication in the language and format people understand and tirelessly advocate for the work that we do. Our continued partnership helps both organizations highlight the critical link between language and information.
Honorable mention – CHS Alliance
The CHS Alliance collaborated on translating the commitments of the Core Humanitarian Standard into plain English and then into the languages of affected communities. They gave TWB a platform to communicate with members about the importance of plain language, generating interest and engagement in the process. This collaboration has enabled more people to directly benefit from translated content.
Awarded to the individual, company, foundation, or trust that has made a significant financial contribution to help TWB meet its mission.
Winner – Maria Pia Montoro
Maria Pia has worked hard over the last two years to create and sell slogan t-shirts to raise funds for TWB. Not only has she made a financial contribution, she has encouraged others to do so and used her platform to raise the profile of TWB, especially among the linguist community.
Honorable mention – Welocalize
WeLocalize is a dedicated long-term diamond sponsor of TWB. The company consistently goes the extra mile by making significant financial contributions and providing practical support, like hosting TWB interns in their offices in Dublin. This organization truly understands the importance of multilingual content and enthusiastically spreads the word about our mission.
Advocate of the Year
Awarded to the person who has creatively and publicly communicated and raised awareness of the organization and the need to provide content in the right language.
Winner – Christine Ro
Christine Ro put TWB in the spotlight with high profile articles in a number of publications in 2019. In one Forbes magazine article, the journalist highlighted the plight of the Rohingya refugees with special attention to the language situation they face. In the latter half of 2019, Christine collaborated with TWB once more, delving into the importance of language for displaced people, in an article for BBC Future online.
Honorable mention – The Baroness Coussins
Thanks to Baroness Coussins, TWB has been mentioned several times in the UK parliament. Baroness Coussins is someone we can always count on to read and disseminate our research and messages at a very high level, taking the initiative to get our message out to an influential public.
The Access to Knowledge Awards are presented annually to supporters and volunteers who go above and beyond to grow awareness of language barriers globally, and help us overcome them. To get involved, sign up as a volunteer translator, sponsor TWB through your company, request language services for your non-profit, or make a donation as an individual. Every action counts to increase access to information in languages people understand.
About Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of language professionals, building local language solutions, and raising awareness of the power of language. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information a year.
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