Without data on the languages of affected people, humanitarian organizations are ill-equipped to communicate with them effectively. In May of this year, Translators without Borders (TWB) started trying to better understand what data is available regarding the language preferences of populations affected by humanitarian crises. The short answer is that there isn’t much. In September 2017 we published a report highlighting the major gaps in data regarding what languages migrants and refugees arriving in Europe speak. The report also describes the difficulties organizations have in providing information in the appropriate languages. Around the same time, we began a similar research initiative in Nigeria.
In June 2017, TWB worked with the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix team to add language -related questions to their ongoing data collection efforts with internally displaced people in four conflict-affected states in north east Nigeria: Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, and Borno. This was the first time any routine language data collection had been done in the current response. There are over 500 languages spoken in Nigeria, making it one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. For humanitarian organizations working in the north east, this diversity of language is an incredible challenge. Organizations report difficulties in knowing what language pairs they should recruit interpreters in, in designing communication materials that use the most appropriate languages, or in understanding what formats are most effective. One of the main reasons for these difficulties is that they do not know what languages their intended audience speaks, or to what extent they understand various lingua francas such as Hausa. As one NGO staff member in Maiduguri explained, “In a focus group discussion, we may hear that somebody only speaks Marghi, but then we have no way to respond to them.”
IOM’s DTM team gathered input from key community members to identify sites where language was a major barrier to effective aid delivery.
Following this, we worked with a team at Map Action who designed a web map to help visualize some of these geospatial patterns and trends. We combined this map with qualitative and quantitative comprehension research that we conducted in partnership with Oxfam and Girl Effect. The combined findings gave a clearer picture of the language landscape for humanitarian responders. We have summarized the findings in an interactive storymap - see below or click here for a full-screen version.
By Eric DeLuca, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager at Translators without Borders.
Today was a bit grueling. We went to interview people who have newly arrived at Balukhali makeshift camp about cyclones and cyclone preparations. We did that, and in the process confirmed what I already knew: specific skills are needed to act as a translator or interpreter in a crisis. After today, I am more convinced than ever that language services - translating, interpreting, simplification and training - are an essential part of this crisis response. TWB has a vital role to play here.
TWB's first Rohingya interpreter
Our very first semi-trained Rohingya interpreter accompanied me and the two co-leads of the Communicating with Communities Working Group (CWC WG) to run a focus group discussion with ‘model mothers’ (women trained by UNICEF to help people in the community with basic needs), and to interview various members of the community – young, old, and leaders. The day was hot and long, but manageable. What was difficult was talking about cyclones to traumatized people, many of whom told of horrible stories and cried as they recalled what they left behind. The threat of cyclone damage is very real in the camps, especially with the makeshift shelters, but on a sunny day with no wind, it felt trite when set against the horror of gunshot wounds, burnt homes and lost family.
Yet Rafique, the first Rohingya interpreter who has received some training, handled it all very well. Rafique is a long-term resident of Cox’s Bazar. He is Rohingya by birth, born in Myanmar, and very committed to helping the new arrivals. For years he has run the Rohingya Youth Association, an unofficial group in Cox’s Bazar that teaches long-term Rohingya camp residents some basic skills, especially reading and writing English and Bangla (the children in the camps are not officially allowed to go to school). A number of the kids whom he and his team have taught have gone on to universities around the world, and many of them will help us with our language work from afar.
Training Rohingya interpreters in Cox's Bazar
Rohingya is Rafique’s mother tongue. He had done some ad hoc interpreting for various journalists in town, but he had never been trained. Like many unskilled interpreters, he made classic mistakes. He summarized a person’s long explanation in just a few words, and he very often editorialized what the person said – adding his own explanation. He also would not always properly understand what the English person asked him to do, nodding that he understood when he actually was not quite sure.
Training interpreters like Rafique is one of Translators without Borders’ major goals in Cox’s Bazar. While locals will say that the new arrivals understand Chittagong, the local Bangla dialect, just fine, we keep finding that that is not the case, especially in areas of health. Today we found that is also not the case in simple explanations about cyclones.
Prior to going to the field, I worked with Rafique over several evenings, giving him basic training on how to interpret. We worked with videos of new arrivals talking about their harrowing trips to Bangladesh. He practiced interpreting their explanations, working on the full meaning, but only the meaning – not his additional thoughts. We also discussed the ethics of interpreting and did some basic work on how to operate in a humanitarian context, including how to speak directly to the person being interviewed and how to work with the international staff.
I also worked with the two international team members about the interpreter relationship. While humanitarians who work in the field intuitively know that the interpreter is a vital link that has the power to help the situation greatly, they are often under a lot of stress, working long hours, and possibly unaware of how to ‘get the most’ out of the interpreter relationship and role. This particular situation was a good place to start because the two CWC WG co-leaders are communicators themselves, so they were engaged and willing to learn, focusing on changing their instructions to accommodate the interpreter, asking him to work with the interviewee to give information in small chunks, and encouraging him to sit at the same level as the interviewee to build trust and engagement. The final preparation included giving Rafique all of the field questions in English and Bangla before the interviews. It is surprising how often those working with interpreters do not educate them beforehand on what they will be talking about. Rafique reviewed all of the questions ahead of time so he could practice in his head how to interpret to the interviewee and then could focus during the interview on providing the information back to the interviewer.
Rafique did a fabulous job. He worked really hard all day, as a team with the interviewers. There was very little misunderstanding, and when once or twice Rafique started to add information, I reminded him that that was no longer ‘interpreting’. He quickly corrected himself.
Why words matter
The real reward came toward the end of the day. Sitting around on a mat with the model mothers, we began discussing the Rohingya words for ‘cyclone.’ In helping the CWC WG evaluate best communications about cyclones, I want to make sure that communications are truly understood by the new arrivals, especially those who are illiterate (9 out of 10 of the model mothers were illiterate and did not understand basic Bangla or Burmese). In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the miscommunications in the Philippines prior to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. The English language radio stations reported a ‘big wave’ coming; to the Tagalog listeners, this did not seem threatening because it was not called ‘typhoon’ – as a result, many did not leave their homes and were lost once the storm hit.
Rafique asked the model mothers what a ‘big storm with wind and lots of rain’ would be in Rohingya, and they sang out, simultaneously, ‘BOT TOWAN!’, while a very large, stormy cyclone would be ‘boyar awla towan,’ and a lesser storm would be ‘towan.’ In Bangla, a cyclone is ‘tofan,’ which is not far from ‘towan.’ But a very large stormy cyclone is ‘boro dhoroner tofan’, which is significantly different.
Even more importantly, in Bangla, the word ‘Jhor’ denotes a storm with wind and is often used for a cyclone. In Rohingya, ‘jhor’ only means rain without being a real storm and without wind. Similar to the Philippines in 2013, that simple misunderstanding, if broadcast from Bangla weather and warning systems, could be the difference of life and death, especially in camps where word of mouth is the main mode of communication, and winds will blow off roofs and drop shallow-rooted trees.
Words matter. I am very proud of Rafique – it was particularly gratifying when the model mothers, through the one woman who could speak some English, told me that he was the best interpreter with whom they had worked. I think it had a lot to do with him being Rohingya and really listening to how they communicate. I am looking forward to more trainings in the coming days.
A second report from Rebecca Petras who is heading up TWB’s response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.
The language complexity in the current Rohingya refugee crisis is deep. I had only a faint understanding of it when I landed a few days ago; I have a slightly better sense now. The Rohingya refugees come from Rakhine in Myanmar. They are Muslim; the other dominant population in Rakhine is Buddhist. The political issues between the two groups and the Rakhine as a whole and the government of Myanmar are extremely complicated, and not for my humble explanation. Suffice it to say, on 25 August 2017, a massive and violent event forced thousands of Rohingya to abandon their villages and flee to Bangladesh, through hills, unfriendly areas, and across water. There are still many thousands waiting to cross the river; in total, there are well over 700,000 new arrivals.
In and around Cox’s Bazar, a tourist town (with the world’s longest contiguous beach) in Chittagong division of Bangladesh, there are now official and unofficial camps, sprawling across hills. Because of decades of unrest in Rakhine, there were already approximately 200,000 Rohingya refugees living in either one of two official camps or within the host community, and many have lived there for two decades. They are now witnessing a massive and very uncertain influx from Myanmar, including thousands of orphans, thousands of traumatized and abused women, and many more who need medical attention.
'There really isn’t any communications happening yet, and no one really knows how to do it'
All of this makes for a very complicated language situation, with an amalgamation of spoken Rohingya from long-term refugees and new arrivals, spoken Chittagong from locals, written Bengali (or Bangla), and, possibly, written Burmese. Add layers of what is allowed by the government (still unclear which languages are being allowed), as well as how to translate complicated English terms into Rohingya, and we have a tricky communications issue. One of the main goals of Translators without Borders’ initial work here is to assess the language needs and then direct the numerous responding aid organizations, with accurate information on language. We will be testing assumptions and testing actual comprehension of material that is given to refugees.
We are beginning that assessment now – I will be working with community health workers and youth this coming week, and our research lead (Eric DeLuca) will be joining me in one week to test agency communications tools with new arrivals. But, at the same time, responding aid organizations want to start communicating right now. The community engagement leader of one of our main international partners said when I first met with him that there really isn’t any communications happening yet, and no one really knows how to do it. So while we try to put standards in place, train new interpreters, support interpreters with resources, and address the various language needs, we also need to just start communicating now. With seemingly endless rains and very little infrastructure in the camps, there is a very real danger of water-borne diseases, making communications urgent. What I need most at this time is more time in the day to get it all done.
Below are some suggestions of how you can support this response. Stay tuned for more updates this week.
Rebecca Petras, TWB Deputy Director and Head of Innovation
In November 2014, when Boko Haram forces occupied the north-eastern Nigerian border town of Damasak, in Borno State, the population fled north into Niger. Two years later, after the Nigerian army retook much of Damasak, thousands of people returned. They found homes destroyed and the hospital stripped of beds and supplies. Many had lost family members; many had witnessed or been subjected to physical and sexual violence by armed men on all sides of the conflict.
Earlier this year, an inter-agency team went to Damasak to assess humanitarian needs. One aim was to find out whether women and girls were experiencing violence or exploitation, but with no one on the team who spoke the women’s language, Kanuri, they could find only a male soldier from the local barracks to help them communicate. Unsurprisingly, the women claimed to have no protection concerns.
It was a stark example of what can happen when humanitarians cannot communicate in the language of the people they are trying to help. Yet a recent assessment by Translators without Borders (TWB) suggests such challenges are common in north-eastern Nigeria.
All the operational organizations interviewed by TWB in Borno State said language barriers hamper their efforts to understand and respond to the needs of internally displaced people (IDPs) and others affected by conflict and hunger. With 28 first languages spoken in Borno alone and low levels of education and literacy across the wider area affected, aid organizations struggle to recruit staff with the right combination of language skills and technical ability. Professional translators and interpreters are in short supply, particularly for languages other than the regional lingua franca, Hausa, so communication materials and program documentation tend to be available only in English, often in Hausa, and sometimes Kanuri.
As a result, humanitarians interviewed from six program sectors feared they lacked a full picture of needs and priorities across the target population, as speakers of minority languages risked going unheard. Without the right languages, ‘We can talk to the host communities, but not the IDPs.’
They also described challenges with providing assistance: Was information about the services available getting through? Were mine awareness communications understood, or were the various explosive remnants of war all being translated as ‘bomb,’ without the distinctions that determine how to stay safe? In short, how much was being lost in translation?
Despite lacking even basic data on the languages of affected people, organizations find ways around the language barriers. Some work through three informal interpreters in succession to communicate with affected people. Some have documents laboriously translated back into English to check their accuracy. Some provide non-professional interpreters for minority-language speakers so they can take part in training sessions.
All those we spoke to knew it was not enough.
Happily, solutions are available. Simple means of mapping the languages of affected people can provide humanitarians with a basis for planning communication. TWB has the expertise to work with subject specialists and language professionals to develop a library of multilingual humanitarian materials everyone can use and train translators and interpreters for minority languages. A protection glossary app designed by TWB’s Head of Technology, Mirko Plitt, has already proved popular and expansion is planned.
Together we can bring down the language barriers that impede recovery for affected people in Nigeria, now and for future emergencies.
By Ellie Kemp, Translators without Borders Head of Crisis Response
FOLLOW US ON OUR JOURNEY TO SCALE UP REMOTE CRISIS RESPONSE LANGUAGE SERVICES.
Refugees and migrants arriving in Europe need clear information they can understand at every point in their journey. They need it in order to move, to find their way through complex asylum procedures, and to keep themselves and their families safe. However, in the ever-changing, often chaotic situation that many of them endure, information can come in many forms. It can be unreliable, incomplete, in the wrong language, or just plain untrue. Crisis responders for their part face the challenge of operating in an environment where people are often mobile, under intense pressure, and unlikely to be able to communicate their needs effectively.
As one of three teams selected by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) for support to scale up a humanitarian innovation, the TWB Words of Relief team is using this opportunity to improve how we provide remote language services to vulnerable people affected by a crisis. Join the team as they document their challenging and exciting journey to tackle the communication challenges that hinder relief efforts, by developing new tools and approaches.
This first vlog gives a behind-the-scenes look at how remote crisis translation works, and includes demos of TWB’s translation platform and glossary app. The app, which was developed specifically with humanitarian responders and field workers in Greece in mind, is a collection of open-source glossaries in the languages of the refugee and migrant populations in Greece. The translation platform uses language technology to lend speed and consistency to efforts to relay vital information to those groups in their own language. These innovative tools open up new opportunities for communication in a crisis that is unique for the linguistic and demographic mix that exists within the host community, the responders and the people directly affected.
This video is available with subtitles in Spanish, French, Greek, German and Italian (just click the ‘CC’ button bottom right of the screen to choose your language). The video was realized with the support of Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), with the financing of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is the first TWB vlog. Follow us on our #JourneyToScale.
Translators without Borders has developed more tools and services to support responders to communicate better in difficult crisis settings. Click here to see the TWB language fact sheets, interpreter toolkit, and more.
About Words of Relief
The Translators without Borders Words of Relief program is the first rapid response translation service aimed at improving communication between crisis-affected communities and humanitarian responders, so that life-saving and life-changing information is not lost in translation. By training translators and interpreters, translating and disseminating critical messages in crisis-inclined countries, building a spider network of translators to assist in time of need, and developing new language technology tools, TWB intends to close the language gaps that hinder critical humanitarian efforts.
The Words of Relief program has been deployed to help victims of several crises worldwide, including the Ebola emergency in West Africa and the Nepal earthquake. Rapid Response Teams in Arabic, Farsi, Greek, Kurdish and Urdu are currently providing immediate, high-quality translations for aid organizations along the refugee route in Europe.
When a crisis or a major humanitarian event occurs, timing is everything. The ability to respond to urgent and vital needs quickly can help save lives. However, language is often the forgotten link at this initial stage of crisis response and communication fails because aid workers and affected populations don’t always speak the same language.
Crisis Response after Hurricane Matthew
The destruction that followed Hurricane Matthew which hit Haiti in October 2016 left thousands of people in urgent need of emergency assistance. Most hospitals were unfit to use, roofs from schools and houses were blown away, and thousands of people were left with no food or shelter. As soon as the news was received, aid agencies mobilized their teams in Haiti to assess the situation on the ground and to help those affected. While our aid partners were mobilizing their responses, Translators without Borders set about assembling 50 French and Haitian Creole rapid response translators to ensure that language barriers were not going to impede vital relief efforts.
The rapid response teams (RRT) worked non-stop translating vital content such as geographic mapping of the affected areas and cholera prevention messages. This visual guide gives a snapshot of how TWB responded to the crisis.
Click here to apply to be a volunteer with the TWB Rapid Response translation teams
By Caterina Marcellini, Translators without Borders Communications Officer
Since 2011 Translators without Borders (TWB) has translated more than 40 million words for humanitarian and development organizations, a significant achievement for a small non-profit. Last year alone, 10 million words were translated.
10 million words in 2016
In 2016 TWB achieved a new record, with dedicated translators providing more than 10 million words in just 12 months, through the Translators without Borders Workspace powered by ProZ.com. Here is an insight into what that actually means.
The graph below presents, the total delivered words for each month in 2016. After breaking all previous records with 1.2 million words translated in the month of May, December figures were even stronger with 1.33 million words delivered. The 2016 average shows a steady growth from 563K in words in January to 927K words at the end of the year.
A Five-Year Perspective
It is interesting to look at an extended view over 5 years to better appreciate the enormous growth experienced over time as a result of the contributions of our committed volunteers.
By December 2016, TWB was working with 3,800 volunteer translators, a 21% increase from one-year prior. Without the commitment of these translators, our achievements would not have been possible. Five ‘super’ volunteers, donated more than 6 percent of our total translation output with a combined delivery of 2.4 million words between them! These volunteers are Eric Ragu (702k words), Ishaklamia (604k words), Chris Hall (420K words), Ashutosh Mitra (351k words) and Raquel Bentué (348k words).
Over the past 12 months, our translators accepted volunteer assignments in 122 language pairs (compared to 139 in 2015). English to French continues to be the largest combination with 26 percent of translations, followed by English to Spanish (14%), French to English (10%), English to Arabic (6.6%) and Spanish to English (4.6%). Overall, the top three language pairs represented 50 percent of the words delivered.
A record 228 humanitarian organizations requested the services of TWB in 2016. Some of the larger pieces of work were in collaboration with Wikipedia, Médicos Sin Fronteras de España, American Red Cross and the International Network of Street Papers. The combined words delivered to these top 5 organizations accounted for 35 percent of the total.
Providing 10 million translated words in one year for non-profit partners was a proud achievement for TWB. This represented partnership with over 200 humanitarian organizations, but what is really impressive is the content that translators are working on. From training material for community health care workers to guidance for traumatized refugees; and from nutrition information for small babies to security instructions for people living in conflict zones, TWB volunteers have worked on some truly impactful projects.
Over five years ago, TWB, with the generous support of ProZ.com, created the first-ever translation workspace dedicated to our vision: A world where knowledge knows no language barriers. Today, over 40 million words later, we are working hard to ensure that the translations we deliver have a positive impact on the lives of people; that the service we offer to non-profit partners is professional; and that translators we work with are proud to be part of TWB. Over the past months, we have been introducing improvements to the TWB translation interface for our partners, offering expanded and tailored language and communications solutions, ensuring top quality translations of life-saving information, and adding technologies that increase efficiency and improve access to vital information. We are also working on our translator incentive program, soon to be delivered, because we believe in the importance of showing our volunteers appreciation for making it possible to achieve over and above what we thought would be possible five years ago.
Here is to topping 10 million words again in 2017 and reaching more people with more vital information in the right languages.
A speaker of 5 languages, Jeanne Martin Goumou from Guinea, recognized the importance of giving people access to information in the right language during the Ebola crisis. In a country of almost 12 million people where more than 40 languages are spoken daily, Ebola prevention messages in French and English were not understood by the majority of the Guinean population. Making good use of her fluency in 3 local languages, Jeanne Martin decided to help by manning the lines of the free National Ebola Hotline, helping those across the country who were desperately seeking vital information in a language they
could understand. Because she knows that translation saves lives.
During my interview with Jeanne Martin, she told me about Guinea and the times of Ebola. “
“I want to ask myself, why are people dying every day?”
She spoke of a country with a high maternal mortality rate, and where malaria is one of the biggest killers of children. She spoke of a country where information arrives in European languages that the majority of the population doesn’t understand.
Jeanne Martin is one of the 12 recent graduates of the Translators without Borders’ translator training course in Guinea, a project in collaboration with eHealth Africa that aims to build language capacity in countries where there are few to no translators. She feels passionate about the training, and for her, the course was a professional opportunity to grow as a translator and to learn new information on important medical topics.
One of the biggest linguistic challenges she encountered during the training is emblematic of the importance of the very work she is doing. She says there are a great amount of “false friends” in the documents she translates; words that look or sound very similar in two languages but that have very different meanings. This is just an example, in the everyday life of a translator, that shows why information in the right language is so important – so that information is clear and there are no misinterpretations when vital health care instructions are given in a foreign language.
Looking to the future, Jeanne Martin wishes to continue to help people in Guinea access health care information in a language and format they can understand.
By Caterina Marcellini, Translators without Borders Communications Officer
One of the things I love about my job here in Greece is that I get to meet the dedicated people who are deployed to TWB’s Humanitarian Interpreter Roster. Since TWB started deploying interpreters to work with our partner organizations in Greece in July, I have had the opportunity to meet them before, during and after their assignments. They tell me about their experiences on the ground and how they feel their work meets, or falls short of meeting, the needs of refugees.
Humanitarian Interpreter roster and medical assitance
I first meet Ada in Athens in August, freshly arrived and very eager to start her deployment with Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World). Having first learned Farsi as a second language at university in her native Poland, Ada’s many years of work in Afghanistan developed her fluency in Dari – the dialect of Farsi spoken there. Female Dari-English interpreters have been difficult to recruit throughout this crisis response, but they are crucial for partners delivering medical services. Like female patients all over the world, many refugee women only feel comfortable with females in the consulting room.
After a brief orientation in Athens, Médecins du Monde sent Ada where they needed her most – to a mobile clinic servicing camps of Afghan refugees in western Greece. Ada tells me that the absence of a Dari speaker had created a backlog of patients at the camps.
“As soon as refugees heard that a Dari interpreter was here, they came to the doctor.”
Many of the patients Ada interprets for are children – not surprising given UNHCR estimates that 28% of refugees currently in Greece are children. Earlier this month she told me: “Today I was called to the hospital by another organization. The child had a very rare disease, and they wanted me there because I knew this child’s case.” Unlike earlier in the crisis, when the refugee population was largely transitory, working with static communities means that interpreters have the chance to build trust and bring individual case knowledge to their work: “I told them that, of course, I could go.”
Breaking down language barriers in refugee camps
Refugee camps in Greece often occupy abandoned factories and military sites. Vasilika camp in northern Greece sits within a gloomy old warehouse.
Ada is not the only interpreter working to break down language barriers to public service provision here. Among the most challenging language barriers for refugees in Greece nowadays – be they stranded or struggling to integrate in Greece – are those faced when accessing public services. Health and asylum services present obvious challenges, but social services, such as the tax office (where refugees must go to obtain a tax number in order to work legally), are also operated entirely in Greek. Anyone who has tried to access and make sense of tax paperwork in their own language can only guess how impossible it must seem to someone struggling in a foreign language. And yet these steps are necessary to access essential services and enjoy basic rights as a refugee here in Greece. The fact that the Greek public sector is simply not equipped to place an interpreter at key points of access, means that humanitarian interpreters are needed to fill the gap.
“There were some really rough cases”
I catch Rahim on Skype a few days after his return home to Cardiff, Wales. He’s already back at university after a month-long deployment with Médecins du Monde in central Greece. An Arabic-English interpreter, Rahim joined the TWB Humanitarian Translater Roster to do humanitarian work during his university breaks. I ask him if he’s exhausted: “Not really” he says with that calm, unflappable manner I’ve come to associate with interpreters, “I didn’t go for a holiday”. Knowing he spent most of his deployment at a camp with notoriously bad conditions, I ask how he felt when he saw it for the first time: “I’d seen refugee camps before so it didn’t surprise me, it was just sad.” Like Ada, Rahim also worked as part of a mobile medical team, splitting his time between two camps of Syrian refugees: “Patients were all ages and with a range of conditions: children, older people, pregnant women…people with chronic diseases, or problems stemming from the bad diet here. There were some really rough cases”.
In one such case, which sadly demonstrates the absolute necessity of having interpreters at hospitals, Rahim was called to a local hospital to urgently assist a Syrian woman in her sixties with a serious heart condition. Totally alone in Greece, she had been taken to the hospital before, but with no interpreters present, she could not, and would not, sign the consent form that would allow a cardiac catheterization. Once there, Rahim interpreted the doctor’s explanation of the procedure and read the consent form to her in Arabic. Now understanding the need for the operation, the woman signed the form and agreed to return for the procedure on the scheduled day. She did turn up for her appointment but – just one hour before the operation – refused the procedure. “She told me later that the room didn’t look familiar, it didn’t feel familiar – she freaked out”, Rahim explains. On duty at the camp at the time, Rahim could not be at the hospital to reassure her by interpreting for the doctors or nurses. Tragically for this woman, hospitals here don’t do second chances, so her only opportunity to undergo a crucial operation had passed. Rahim is, as ever, very clear: “There were no interpreters at the hospital” he says.
Recruiting of interpreters
Translators without Borders started recruiting, testing and training interpreters in July 2016. They are then independently contracted by our trusted partner organizations in Greece. Since the establishment of the Humanitarian Interpreter Roster, 5 people have been deployed.
By Lali Foster, former Translators without Borders Communications Manager, European refugee crisis response
The Mission of Translators without Borders is to create a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. To achieve that mission, TWB works with partners globally to respond to challenges related to communication and language. This video shows the crises that Translators without Borders has responded to in an effort to improve communications between humanitarians and affected communities. Communication in the right language is effective humanitarian response. Achieving the TWB mission is therefore dependent on our dedicated volunteer translators.
joining the Rapid response team
Do you want to join the TWB Rapid Response Team? Sign up at the TWB website.