The TWB Community agrees: you love helping others with your language skills

Hey community members – what’s important to you? Our 2023 TWB Community Survey results are in!

Is TWB the world’s largest community of humanitarian language volunteers? We think so. Is it the most committed? Definitely! 

The TWB Community: over 100,000 language volunteers provide language services to support humanitarian and development organizations worldwide. Together, we’re helping people get vital information and be heard when it matters most. The TWB Community is at the heart of CLEAR Global, the nonprofit set to improve global communication and access to information for speakers of marginalized languages. 

In this blog post, you will find 6 important takeaways from your feedback, and learn what’s new for 2024.

Each year, we ask for your thoughts on the TWB experience. Your feedback shapes our strategies, how we support our community, and plan initiatives for the year ahead. At the end of 2023, we asked our community members to share their honest opinions anonymously, and we received nearly 1,400 responses.

The majority of community members remain motivated to volunteer to help others, contribute to a good causeand gain experience to enrich their professional profiles. You are asking for more content to work on, and more training to help you grow your skills. We hear you and are doing everything we can to meet your needs! We aim to make our community and your experience as impactful and valuable as possible.

Watch the highlights in this multilingual video, prepared for you by some CLEAR Global team members! 

1. New Partner Teams make it easier to volunteer, access projects, and collaborate

We know you’re busy! You are looking for shorter tasks and the option to plan your workload ahead of time. We are grateful to everyone who makes time to include volunteer tasks in their busy schedules. 

For that reason, we want to make it easier for you to choose your projects and plan your schedule so it’s easier to get involved. That’s why we’re introducing new Partner Teams

Most of our community members are employed or self-employed – click to see the full results.

“Make the delivery times a little longer so that you can have the chance to accept a job; often I’m already booked out with my paid jobs and if the TWB schedule is too tight, I can’t take on any TWB jobs.”

TWB Community member, 35-44, Germany

TWB’s Partner Teams facilitate planning, communication, feedback, and knowledge sharing among community members. They also enable you to commit to your choice of projects and task types with pre-assigned workloads. We have already launched some teams to support partner organizations such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and UNICEF-Spotify. 

Thank you for all the additional information: it is quite luxurious to have all this at my disposal.” 

TWB Community member Anne-Marie is grateful for the new Partner Teams experience.
A zoom meeting showing 15 participants smiling for the camera. They're all in different locations with different backgrounds
One of our Partner Teams meeting for the first time!

2. You want even more opportunities – beyond humanitarian translation

I would like to get more updates on tasks in my native language so that I can dedicate some time every week for volunteering.”

TWB Community Member, 45-54, India

What’s cited as the number one reason survey respondents haven’t volunteered with TWB yet or volunteer less frequently than they’d like to? There are not always enough projects available for everyone who wants to support us. So, we’re providing exciting new opportunities for volunteers to engage. By expanding our range of volunteer activities, we aim to ensure that everyone can find meaningful ways to contribute, learn, and make a difference. You can sign up for our newsletter for the chance to contribute to our awareness days and initiatives. 

  • In 2020, almost half of survey respondents said they had yet to volunteer with TWB.
  • In 2021, a third of respondents hadn’t volunteered yet.
  • By 2023, the situation had improved, only 24% of respondents flagged this issue.

You’ll also see us create new roles; you could volunteer as an advisor or training creator. And, we are working hard to diversify our service offerings to capture the skills and talents our community offers. In the first quarter of this year, we collaborated with volunteers and provided training so they could become plain language editors, forum advisors, content creators, and training experts. 

We are grateful for the many ways you support our work and empower your language communities. And we are eager to take our collaboration to the next level. 

Being involved in other community tasks apart from translation, proofreading, and reviewing alone. Making more content available in my language pairs hence more information and engagement with my community.”

TWB Community member, 35-44, Uganda

3. Improving your user experience – centralized access to information 

Some of you told us you need help finding relevant information on navigating the TWB Platform and accessing support. In response to your concerns, we’re making navigation and browsing easier. Soon, you’ll be able to access all essential resources and knowledge-based threads in one centralized place. The most important information will be separate from the other conversations and exchanges in the community forum. 

We will dedicate the forum exclusively to conversations and community-building and try to foster a stronger sense of community. We are also committed to making it easier for community members to interact on the forum, bringing us to the next takeaway.

Help by making instructions clear and simple. Provide simple instructions that are easily accessible directly to me.”

TWB Community member, 18-24, Malaysia

4. You want more interactions, networking, and connections

Your feedback raised another important point: our community members would appreciate more ways to interact with others who speak their languages. The remote nature of our work makes it difficult for people to interact face-to-face. We are transforming the community forum into a hub for connection. Our new Partner Teams are designed to facilitate deeper connections among individuals who speak the same languages and collaboration across linguistic boundaries.

When a translation is split into separate parts, enable communication across all parts, not just within the same file.”

TWB Community member, 25-34, Germany
TWB Community members left to right: Jeff and Ursuline. 

5. You’re ready to advance your skills: discover our training plans 

You told us you like the TWB Learning Center and are excited to see more training courses become available. The most popular topic suggestions include language services, content creation, training development, data validation, and community management. 

Last year, we launched our TWB Learning Center and made several new online courses available, from the most popular Basics of Humanitarian Interpreting to an Introduction to Machine Translation and Post-Editing. We recently introduced How Recruitment Works, designed to equip community members with essential insights into navigating the job market. This self-paced, interactive resource offers practical examples to enhance your employability and professional development.

Training and learning: 492 respondents said they have already taken part in a TWB translator course, training webinar, or used our resources. Click to see the full results. 

Building on the success of our Translator Training course, upcoming courses will be designed to enhance your language service skills and professionalism. Stay tuned for future courses on the TWB Learning Center

“To make my experience better it’s a matter of adding more skills, tools, and options.”

TWB Community member, 35-44, South Sudan

Since I haven’t been able to volunteer yet, I would appreciate it if the TWB Learning Centre could open more classes so I can keep learning and expand my knowledge.

TWB Community member, 18-24, Indonesia

6.  We’re diversifying our community outreach

We are excited to see our community demographics evolve, with a growing number of seniors and retirees among our members. We are grateful for the experience and knowledge more seasoned professionals bring to our community. We also noted fewer students and younger members (aged 18-24) responded. This year, we will build communities among university students. We continually refine our onboarding, training, and feedback processes to ensure people just starting in the language industry have the right support to succeed. 

Our community demographics by age – Click to see the full results. 

If you know a language, localization, or translation student eager to make a difference, we encourage you to share the opportunity to join the TWB Community. 

And share this blog with a friend!

I’m really satisfied with my experience. You’re very kind and committed to your job.

You’re always happy to help volunteers with their tasks whenever there’s a problem, so you make us feel comfortable and supported doing our tasks.

TWB Community member, 55+, Argentina

Reflecting on the TWB Community Survey Results for 2023, it’s clear that a commitment to humanitarian service and professional growth continues to be your main driver. As always, we are grateful to have the support of so many diverse, talented, and experienced contributors to our mission. Thank you for your dedication, passion, generosity, and unwavering support. 

Have you joined the TWB Community yet? Sign up today.

Translation connects us: why language inclusion matters

On September 30th we celebrated International Translation Day. To mark the day, we’re highlighting the work of language professionals and volunteers worldwide who help us to connect with others and access information and opportunities across language barriers.

International Tranlsation Day #LanguageInclusion The image shows one three focus group participants in Nigeria, women who are smiling and engaged in conversation with the TWB worker on the left. TWB and CLEAR Global logos

We’re exploring how our TWB Community of over 100,000 people works at the cross-section of language, technology, and humanitarian aid to drive social good. We’ll explore the motivations behind our community members’ love of language, and why they chose to join us on our mission to build a more inclusive world. Their insights help us understand how translation can help some of the world’s most marginalized people overcome language barriers and participate in conversations that matter to them. Read on to hear our TWB Community member’s voices, as they showcase some of the innovative solutions that CLEAR Global and TWB are developing to improve two-way communication with communities that speak marginalized languages.

The power of collaboration – the TWB community

Through our work, CLEAR Global and TWB are making language inclusion a reality.

Our globally connected community helps people get vital information and be heard, whatever language they speak. Together, we are also contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals by promoting access to information for all language speakers – on climate change, forced migration, gender equality and women’s rights, health, and more. Because millions of people who speak marginalized languages are excluded from vital information, services, and global conversations that affect their lives. Language professionals who speak marginalized languages need equal access to digital resources and opportunities to enable them to support their communities – in their language. 

We work at the intersection of language, technology, and humanitarian aid to create inclusive solutions that work for more people. We use research and scalable language technology solutions to improve two-way communication with communities that speak marginalized languages. We also train and empower linguists and non-professional bilinguals to participate in humanitarian and development translation projects on the TWB Platform. We advocate for language inclusion, driving initiatives to make marginalized languages part of global conversations. 

  • We have translated over 100 million words into more than 200 languages for over 700 humanitarian and development organizations worldwide.
  • We have developed groundbreaking language technology solutions such as machine translation engines, speech recognition systems, chatbots, glossaries, and terminology databases for marginalized languages such as Rohingya, Hausa, Swahili, Somali, Tigrinya, and more.
  • We have trained over 10,000 linguists and non-professional bilinguals through our TWB Learning Center courses on translation skills, machine translation post-editing (MT PE), target terminology development and glossaries, desktop publishing (DTP), etc.

What motivates the TWB Community? 

Responses from our community members.

“I developed a deep passion for languages and cultures from a young age, sparking my interest in becoming a translator. The joy of bridging communication gaps and fostering understanding between people from diverse backgrounds is what ultimately motivated me to pursue this profession. I find immense fulfillment in the power of words to connect and convey meaning across borders using Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, French, and English. I became involved with CLEAR Global and the TWB Community through my strong dedication to language access and humanitarian efforts. My commitment to facilitating communication in crisis situations led me to collaborate with the organization, aligning with their missions and leveraging my language expertise to make a meaningful impact.” – Uwayo Noel

“What motivated me was the increasing globalization of our world. As our societies become more interconnected, the demand for skilled translators and language experts has grown exponentially. I saw this as an opportunity not only for personal and professional growth but also as a means to contribute to effective cross-cultural communication on a global scale. The passion for helping people and facilitating communication between different language communities served also as a driving force. Being able to break down language barriers for individuals who might otherwise struggle to access information or services is not just a job, it’s a meaningful way to make a positive impact on the lives of others.– OKafor Nkechi Abundance

“The gap in language services in Sudan motivated me to be a translator and volunteer with TWB. I wanted to practice and improve my language and translation skills while providing a service that matters.– Najah F. Ahmed

“I am from Ethiopia and many Ethiopian descendants are living abroad, and I heard that they are suffering from language limitations. So, I want to help them access crucial information that is not available in Amharic. In addition to the above, even in my country, many individuals still have problems understanding the labels on imported items that are written in English. When I came to know about TWB from social media, I immediately searched the website. When I looked at the core goal of the organization I really found it interesting and decided to participate and be part of a platform which is basically designed to help people around the world.”  – Senait Gebru

Image of Senait Gebru TWB Community member on International Translation Day

Solutions to include everyone

“Through the TWB platform, I’ve contributed to projects like child safeguarding and Kinyarwanda data validation, leveraging my language skills in English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Kiswahili. These initiatives were crucial to me because they align with my passion for language access and humanitarian causes. I believe that valuing languages and ensuring accurate communication is essential for conveying vital messages and making a positive impact on vulnerable communities.” – Uwayo Noel

“I have been able to participate in two projects so far. The first one was ‘WFP audio scripts project’. It was about creating awareness to say no to sexual violence. Personally, I really loved the idea and I believe that everybody should participate in ending sexual violence. The second one was a translation for an earthquake safety project. This project is important for me cause I believe that it might help to protect someone’s life. The translation of this specific information might help some Ethiopian diasporas to understand local disasters and take the required preventive measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Sometimes miscommunication can lead to serious consequences. In this specific case I think my translation might help in reducing risks to human life and property which might occur because of language barrier.”  – Senait Gebru

The TWB Community is helping make our solutions even more inclusive with sign language inclusion: 

Overcoming challenges in translation: 

“As a translator and language expert, I have encountered various challenges, including linguistic nuances, tight deadlines, and maintaining cultural sensitivity in translations. Additionally, issues with accessibility and inclusion have arisen when working with languages or dialects that are less commonly spoken or when dealing with specialized terminology. Overcoming these challenges often involves extensive research, collaboration with native speakers, and continuous learning to ensure accurate and inclusive communication.” – Uwayo Noel

Image shows TWB Community member Uwayo Noel with a purple speech bubble reading "kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, French and English language volunteer"  on International Translation Day

“One of the most common challenges is the complexity of language itself. Languages are not static; they evolve over time, and they can be incredibly nuanced. Accurately capturing the nuances, idioms, and cultural context of a text can be a significant challenge. It requires not just fluency but a deep understanding of both the source and target languages. Another challenge is tight deadlines and high-pressure situations. Clients often need translations quickly, and balancing speed with quality can be a real test. This can sometimes result in long working hours and tight turnarounds, which can be demanding.” – OKafor Nkechi Abundance

“I am self-taught. I did not study to become a translator. I developed my English language proficiency without formal education. I learned interpretation, translation, editing, and proofreading through practice.”  – Najah F. Ahmed

“So far, meeting deadlines has been the biggest challenge for me. Because when downloading the original document and sending the translated one as well, I often have internet connection problems. There were even times when the internet was fully shut down by the government. The other problem I faced most of the time emanates from my mother tongue itself. My mother tongue which is Amharic has multiple dialects and this takes a lot of my time to ensure the translation I am doing is accurate.”  – Senait Gebru

Language solutions by the community for the community:

“My work and involvement with CLEAR Global and the TWB Community contribute to making a significant difference in the world by ensuring accurate and accessible communication in humanitarian settings. By bridging language barriers, we facilitate aid delivery, support vulnerable populations, and promote understanding in diverse communities. This not only enhances the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts but also fosters global cooperation and inclusivity, ultimately making the world a more connected and compassionate place.” – Uwayo Noel

“This work helps to facilitate access to information with a language that is understood by the people who need it. And to assist people in making their stories heard, not only in their region but around the world, which wouldn’t happen without translation and interpretation.” – Najah F. Ahmed

“When I decided to participate in TWB’s projects I was planning to fill the gap that was created by language barriers. I strongly believe that my work so far has helped someone to communicate with other people from different cultural backgrounds. Moreover, my contribution will also help to build better personal relationships among individuals. As I am trying to give all my best in delivering accurate and reliable translation, transcription… my involvement in this organization is definitely an asset.” – Senait Gebru

Being part of the TWB Community:

“My involvement with CLEAR Global and the TWB Community has been immensely rewarding. I’ve had the privilege of contributing to humanitarian efforts and witnessing the direct impact of accurate translation in crisis situations. The satisfaction of bridging language gaps and facilitating better understanding between diverse communities is a significant benefit. Furthermore, the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals and continuously expand my language skills has been personally enriching and professionally fulfilling.” – Uwayo Noel

“Translation work and involvement with global organizations like CLEAR Global and TWB often expose individuals to a wide array of cultures, languages, and perspectives. This can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world’s diversity.” – OKafor Nkechi Abundance

“Being part of the TWB Community means continuous learning and development of skills by translating a multitude of topics for different organizations.”  – Najah F. Ahmed

The image shows a speech bubble with a quote from TWB Community member Naja F. Ahmed, “The gap in language services in Sudan motivated me to be a translator and volunteer with TWB. I wanted to practice and improve my language and translation skills while providing a service that matters."

“The first and foremost benefit I can tell is I am able to improve my language proficiency both in the source and the target language. I can say that it helps me to improve my understanding of both languages. The other benefit I got from participating in TWB projects as a marginalized language speaker is that I was also able to receive a monetary reward* and I am really grateful for that.”  – Senait Gebru

*Our Community Recognition Program is our way of thanking our amazing community members with professional recommendations and more. It includes monetary rewards for some marginalized languages to cover some expenses. Speakers of marginalized languages often face high connectivity costs when offering their online support. We hope that this will allow speakers of marginalized languages to volunteer more with us. Learn more about our Community Recognition Program here.

In honor of International Translation Day on September 30, we want to thank all the language professionals who work with us and support our cause. They are central to making access to information possible for some of the world’s most marginalized people. With a special thanks to our TWB Community, a global network of over 100,000 language volunteers who offer their skills and time to help humanitarian and development organizations worldwide.

If you are interested in joining our community, here’s how you can get involved: 

If you want to find out how to support our mission or follow our work: 

How language service providers help change lives – sponsor the TWB Community

Building a better world for marginalized language speakers 

Revolutionizing communication for communities 

The internet has revolutionized communication, connection, and change, for those of us who can read whatever piece of content we want on the internet in our own language. It’s a different story for people who don’t speak one of the internet’s dominant languages. 

Woman observing a poster in Bangladesh camps - language service providers can sponsor TWB and CLEAR Global projects
CLEAR Global and the TWB Community are on a mission to help more people realize the benefits of access to information and two-way communication. Because today, half the world’s population still can’t access information in their language via digital channels. People care when you speak their language, and it can change lives. 

Thanks to people like you who share our vision, we’re helping create a world where everyone can get vital information and be heard, whatever language they speak. We are set to improve global communication and information access. How? By combining the expertise and innovation of CLEAR Global’s team, nonprofit partners, supporters, and sponsors, with TWB’s 100,000-strong community of language volunteers at our core.

Working as a community: supporting the world’s most marginalized communities to communicate and connect

We work as a community to help improve communication – and daily life – for people affected by war, people who have been displaced, and whose homes have been devastated by natural disasters. We help those most in need of reliable information on how to stay safe, get help, and more. The TWB community’s translations contribute to developing CLEAR Global’s AI-based language technology solutions. And they help provide much-needed language services so nonprofits worldwide can communicate with people in need of support. Together, we enable people who speak their mother language to access the same knowledge and opportunities as those who speak their country’s dominant or national language.

Who the community helps: a one-of-a-kind community of language volunteers powering social good

Our community of linguists donates over 20 million words each year. We translate information for organizations all over the world, working in more than 200 languages — from Amharic to Zulu.

learn more about TWB.

Over ten years since TWB was first established, we continue to partner with nonprofit organizations all over the world to connect linguists and their skills with people in need of critical information. TWB community members contribute to a range of language-related projects, including translation, revision, subtitling, and voice-over. By providing vital information in relevant languages, they’re helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people get answers to their questions in times of crisis, know their rights, and how to stay safe when forcibly displaced. They help people get accurate and reliable health information. And they help those who are most impacted by climate change protect themselves and our planet. By investing in our community, we know that we can make a bigger impact together. We rely on our generous network of sponsors, including language service, localization, and technology industry experts, who share our passion for effective, equitable communication, to help make it happen.

CLEAR Global and TWB Fundraiser with sponsor and supporter Ludejo featuring Andrew
Fundraising for CLEAR Global and TWB with supporter, Ludejo

Giving back and growing skills – supporting language volunteers

With the support of sponsors including those who provide pro bono language services and expertise, we’re building communities of translators in critical languages. And we’re supporting new linguists to grow professionally. At the start of 2023, we launched the new TWB Learning Center, a place for community members to gain experience in humanitarian translation and learn in-demand language industry skills. It’s free, self-paced, and designed for everyone because we believe that every contribution matters – in every language. By making translator training accessible, we can empower linguists and non-professional bilinguals to participate in humanitarian and development initiatives to make their languages part of global conversations. ​​Since we went live, we’ve welcomed thousands of users! We’re also improving our TWB platform, incorporating new language technology to give our community the tools they need to contribute to even more impactful projects. 

The TWB Learning Center - language service providers can sponsor TWB and CLEAR Global projects
Photo: the TWB Learning Center. Ibrahim, left, with a participant testing out a device powered by community members’ translations. It enables displaced people in Bakassi camp, Nigeria, to give feedback to camp staff in their own language. It lets people listen to vital information that matters to them, like how food distribution works.

A few projects our community members have translated recently include:

  • 200,000 words for a Patient Cases project translated into three languages, for International League Against Epilepsy,
  • 800,000 words of safeguarding content translated for Catholic Relief Services,
  • 60,000 words for a Social Responsiveness in Health Service Psychology Education and Training Toolkit translated into Spanish and French for the Council of Chairs of Training Councils, 
  • and 32,000 words translated into Hindi in less than a month for the SPOON Foundation.

Jeff and ursuline, TWB Community members

“My biggest motivation for volunteering with TWB is helping people access vital information in their own language by breaking language barriers. I also want to get more experience and grow professionally to be able to better support my family.”

TWB Community member, Jeff featured left, Ursuline right. Read our TWB blog on supporting the African language community.

Every day, our partners request more support in more languages, and our community steps up to meet the need! 

  • Salwa has donated 650,404 words in Arabic and French on projects supporting children, health, and education for American Red Cross, Concern Worldwide, Save the Children, the H2H Network’s COVID-19 response, and the World Health Organization (WHO), among others on the TWB Platform. “To leave an impact,” is the first thing you would hear when you ask me “why”. Salwa, French teacher, and TWB Community member.
  • Tien, “inspired by the fact that more Vietnamese migrants will be able to understand the information sent to them” has donated 82,853 words, translating and revising with CLEAR Global partners, the COVID-19 task, Partners In Health, the IFRC, and more on the TWB Platform. 
  • Hiba has donated 1,294,561 words in English and Arabic. She has translated and revised projects supporting people with health, migration, and equality with CLEAR Global partners, CARE International, IFRC, Oxfam, and other nonprofits on the TWB Platform. 
  • Usman worked with the TWB Community to help develop Shehu, CLEAR Global’s AI chatbot which helps people get reliable answers to their questions about COVID-19 in Hausa and Kanuri. 

Read testimonials from some of our community members in our blog, “Discover the community impact of our projects around the world”

“We are making a great positive impact on the lives of people in northeast Nigeria and Maiduguri to be specific.”

Usman, CLEAR Global Project Officer.

More than translation – life-changing language resources

Our organization offers language services and a lot more. We advocate for the inclusion of under-resourced languages in digital spaces. We develop useful, open-access language resources and tools, and foster collaboration among key players who we believe can make a difference. You can explore our resources and research, filter by topic, program, language, and region on the CLEAR Global Resources Library. With the help of our supporters, we can work together to promote language equality and ensure more marginalized voices are heard.

Right now, millions of people are excluded from vital information, important conversations, and lifesaving services – because of language barriers. Our organization exists to bridge the digital language divide. 

learn more at clearglobal.org

Talking about preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) in Venezuela

Venezuela is facing a severe humanitarian crisis, with millions of people suffering from hunger, disease, and lack of basic services. The crisis has forced more than 5.5 million Venezuelans to flee their country and many refugees and migrants find themselves exposed to poverty, homelessness, exploitation, and abuse (Source: Reliefweb). All of these people need accurate information and access to critical services in a language they understand. Over 50 Indigenous groups live in Venezuela, many with their own languages. Some community members speak little or no Spanish or have limited access to humanitarian information and assistance in their own languages. This poses a serious challenge for humanitarian responders who need to communicate with them about preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA).

Tools for Indigenous Communities, developed by Indigenous People

Humanitarian responders need practical tools to overcome language barriers so they can provide people with effective assistance. To address this gap, we partnered with local linguists and community-based organizations in Venezuela that support Indigenous communities across the country. The remote location of many communities and the low internet connectivity are problematic. So we trained Indigenous linguists to test and validate terms related to PSEA, working offline in three of the most widely spoken Indigenous languages: Pemón, Warao, and Wayúu. These terms are now available in our multilingual PSEA glossary, which helps humanitarians and community members to understand each other clearly and respectfully. By promoting language diversity and inclusion, we can enhance the quality and accountability of humanitarian action. By tackling these language barriers we can empower Indigenous people to be informed and make their voices heard.

Glossaries combat mistranslation and misunderstanding 

We’ve developed multilingual glossaries and conducted terminology testing in various countries to help clarify abstract humanitarian jargon, improve understanding, and address common difficulties encountered in discussing taboo subjects. The aim is to make communication between affected people and humanitarians more effective. 

During glossary development and testing stages, we regularly uncover terms that are confusing, so we work with local linguists to localize key terms that could aid in accurate, effective communication. Some examples from our projects around the world:  

  • In Malawi (Chewa), people found ‘negative coping mechanisms’ confusing. They preferred ‘dealing with a problem in a way that creates more problems’. 
  • In Iraq (Kurdish), the abstract terms ‘whistleblower’ and ‘informed consent’ were not clear. More direct terms like ‘to report’ and ‘approval’ were much easier to understand. 
  • In Haiti (Haitian Creole), the term for a ‘complaint mechanism’ was ‘Plent Mekanis’ in Frenchified Creole. But people preferred the more descriptive phrase ‘fason pou w pote plent’ (way for raising a complaint).

Our community and our supporters have helped us create and share numerous glossaries to help people navigate communication in challenging situations. Our glossaries include terms and definitions on topics such as COVID-19, safeguarding and preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), community engagement, refugee response, and more. They are available in multiple languages to cater to people in all kinds of contexts, with audio pronunciation and offline access. Our glossaries help people working in humanitarian and development contexts to make an impact with clear, accurate, and consistent communication. When a company decides to sponsor TWB, they have the exciting opportunity to help fund the development and expansion of new and existing glossaries. Explore all glossaries here – and don’t forget to share with someone who could use them. It can make all the difference. 

A screenshot of our glossary - LSP Sponsor, nonprofit, language services for nonprofits, T

Back in 2020, our friends at TransPerfect (TWB Platinum Sponsor) – shared our COVID-19 glossary on social media.

An old friend working in a long-term care facility in a diverse neighborhood reached out to a TWB team member, she was relieved she found our COVID-19 glossary. Her work involved speech pathology primarily in English, but her clients’ diverse backgrounds and languages made her the “go-to” to help figure out communication and understanding issues. Not only was she very grateful – this glossary tool made a real difference for her and her colleagues – but it also helped empower the people she worked with to get the support they needed. We have the opportunity to scale and adapt our resources to make them count in diverse contexts – whenever and wherever people need support. 

Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment with the Resource & Support Hub 

To support people facing vulnerable situations in humanitarian contexts including the Ukraine response, we’ve worked with the Resource and Support Hub to produce a number of resources in various languages. With the support of TWB Community members who speak relevant languages, we:

“We found the plain language editing was really helpful in making these concepts [rights] concrete and understandable. We made the messages and we thought they were understandable, but CLEAR Global took them and made them really much clearer and used words that were digestible.”

Rebecca Hiemsra, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Responding to floods in Pakistan: in the right languages

When devastating flooding affected Pakistan in 2022, we knew from previous responses that effective communication can be the key to addressing people’s real needs. The UN says an estimated 33 million people have been affected, with millions still living in poor conditions. Pakistan is facing a food crisis, and people need aid and vital services in a language they can understand. CLEAR Global conducted research on local languages and people’s needs. We then updated our PSEA Glossary to include five key languages for Pakistan, in collaboration with SSD (Social Development Direct) and the RSH (Resource and Support Hub). This free, online language resource supports humanitarians and affected people with communication about protection from sexual exploitation, abuse, and harm. This recent update adds five languages: Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, and Urdu. These languages are essential for reaching millions of people who do not speak or understand Urdu, the country’s official language. 

Pakistan flooding - CLEAR Global's response - sponsor us

Pakistan has high linguistic diversity and low literacy rates. Many people lack the information they need in their language to access assistance, avoid further harm, and prepare for future crises. With our PSEA glossary, we aim to help humanitarian workers communicate more effectively with the people they support, ensuring that they can be informed, respected, and understood. For example, the glossary can help women who experience sexual abuse to make reports to humanitarian workers and seek support in their own language. A young female farm laborer in Sindh told us that: 

“We only get information from our men, we can’t say what we want and what we don’t want.” 

Interview respondant, Pakistan

With this new resource, community support workers and people working in the aid sector will be able to provide more accurate information and awareness on PSEA. Here are some of the ways it can help: 

  • Translators working for local NGOs can use the glossary to translate PSEA materials and messages into the languages of the communities they support, ensuring that they are clear, accurate, and culturally appropriate. 
  • Volunteers working on PSEA awareness in flood-affected villages can use the glossary to prepare communications, answer questions from community members in their native languages, and build trust.
  • Local interpreters can know which terms to use, and better understand what people are saying about their experiences. 
  • Organizations can avoid confusion and stigma and communicate more effectively on PSEA with both communities and their staff with accurate, consistent, and standard translations that are appropriate to the context.
  • Aid workers supporting people in Pakistan and around the world can understand unfamiliar terms, check definitions, select the appropriate words, and prepare for challenging conversations
  • This resource can be used in various contexts, it can help when: providing information and awareness on PSEA, conducting surveys and interviews, reporting and responding to cases of abuse, training staff and volunteers 


We collaborated with Social Development Direct and the Resource and Support hub to define and include locally accepted terminology, so individuals can understand their rights, be heard, and receive the support they need. This need is urgent. At the UN’s annual Committee on Information last month, “the representative of Pakistan voiced concern about the digital divide and the issue of growing inequality in access to timely, multilingual communications.” It was reported that 2.9 billion people have never used the internet, and 96% of those live in developing countries. “The issue of unequal access to information, due to a lack of linguistic diversity, must be addressed.” This poses another challenge on top of recent floods – the delegate for Pakistan referred to TWB’s report highlighting the dangerous information gap that amplifies the risk faced by affected communities (Source: UN Press, April 2023). Explore the glossaries and learn more about how you can support the development of new and expanded resources – visit clearglobal.org You can also learn more about language data in Pakistan at this link.

It’s time to act.

So join us in empowering people through language. When a crisis hits, our global team and community unite language and technology at scale combined with decades of international aid experience to address the digital language divide. This allows us to work as a catalyst for change, building AI-powered language solutions with high social impact. And the vital funds and support provided by sponsors help us reach more people, to create even more change for good. Sounds like a good way to do social responsibility? If you think so, we could work together to use language technology to drive development, create more equality, and give people agency over their own lives. Get in touch today on our website.

We thank Microsoft for their kind Azure donation which hosts much of our language technology resources.

Written by Danielle Moore, Communications and Engagement Officer,  CLEAR Global 

Embrace language equity this International Women’s Day

Community stories of women’s empowerment and gender equality

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, we spoke to some of our talented community members around the world. We invited them to share their own stories on women’s empowerment and gender equality. We hope you enjoy these powerful stories of strong women who are also fellow community members.

They come from different corners of the globe and have their own unique experiences to share, but they share a goal. They want people to know their stories so they can raise awareness about the issues women like them face. Our collective experience as linguists and humanitarians shows us that women are all too often disproportionately affected by societal factors which make them vulnerable to difficult situations. In many situations, women face barriers to education. They face language barriers and a lack of access to information in a language and format they understand. Because of this some women struggle to access the healthcare they need, know their rights, or stay safe. 

  • The stories below include name changes and edits in line with CLEAR Global’s confidentiality and editorial practices. 
  • Trigger warning: this post contains references to discrimination, domestic violence, and rape, which some individuals may find distressing or emotionally challenging. 

Read more on women’s rights and equity this International Women’s Day

Chandler’s story: how lack of support in her native language meant lack of justice.

A TWB Community member with her child standing at the beach near the water. International Women's Day 2023.
Chandler and her son at the beach

Lost in translation means loss of justice: recounting domestic violence in a foreign language

One aspect of the growing trend to move abroad that often goes entirely unconceived is how easily recounting domestic violence to local authorities in a foreign country suffers the inevitable consequences of being “lost in translation.”

I took the Girona city bus from the small village I was coerced into living in. I was fleeing domestic violence with my three-month-old son – no car, no friends or family nearby, and still a struggling command of the local language, Catalan. There was no room for error, and yet, from the moment I left until the present day, the errors I made haunt my drowning need for justice.

I entered Girona city’s police station, frantically looking over my shoulder. I quietly mumbled in Catalan, asking if they had any agents that could speak in English. They must have guessed why and had me wait for Agent Elena. She was a local city police agent that specialized in domestic violence. I asked her if she spoke English, my mother tongue. She smiled and replied “no, but you speak Catalan quite well. Please, tell me what you want to report.” I reported the abuse, and I had no idea how awful it sounded as I was saying it. She reassured me that I had enough language ability in Catalan that I could express the pertinent details to a judge – little did she know that was not the case. However, because the crime was committed in the neighboring village, I needed to retell my story to the appropriate jurisdictional police: Mossos d’Esquadra.

That was when the real “loss in translation” happened. Agent Maria, the local Mossos d’Esquadra agent, overheard my struggles with the language, and even witnessed me using Google Translate to express some of the more horrific details, and yet she didn’t make any effort to double-check she could report the facts accurately, or ask follow-up questions to really understand them. A number of details were tragically lost in translation and this later became part of the fancy footwork the opposing party’s lawyer used to tear my testimony to shreds.

While there are many published stories and research about the subject, there is not enough support for women seeking and obtaining justice and therefore protection measures in a foreign country.

Chandler’s story is just one example of how accessing support and information in someone’s native language can change the course of their life. 

Breaking stereotypes and ensuring fair access to information is what motivates Faria, the protagonist of our next story.

Faria’s story: breaking stereotypes and embracing equity

A woman, Faria, TWB Community member smiling. International Women's Day 2023.
I aspire to create a program to get minority girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers by connecting them with mentors from the field, who come from similar cultural backgrounds and speak their parents’ native language.

Coming from a South Asian culture, deep-seated gender norms often confine women to their homes. For many immigrant girls, cultural expectations encourage us to find a husband instead of continuing our education or building our careers. When I shared my aspirations to pursue a career in the medical field, my peers teased me that I would never be able to achieve those dreams as a girl. My parents wanted me to follow in the footsteps of my older sister and marry, rather than build a career. Because I question the norms, I am seen as the shameful black sheep in my family. In an ironic turn of events that greatly shaped my outlook, my family insisted that I attend an all-girls high school to “preserve my modesty,” but that has only further opened my eyes to my capabilities and empowered me to embrace a career in a STEM field. Throughout high school, I participated in women’s rights events such as our annual women’s march, and attended a lecture with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. All these events made me realize that I could create my own path despite cultural restrictions. Being an immigrant and a minority, I had a hard time voicing my concerns because I struggled with the English language. However, seeing many students and staff who were like me at my high school encouraged me to pursue higher education and build a career.

My traditional Bangladeshi parents expect me to spend my time in the kitchen, so I experiment in between preparing meals with my mother. 

I plunged myself into school, working hard to get A’s while taking rigorous science classes. Additionally, I started to participate in extracurricular activities and community service. I wanted my family to see that I could live an impactful life through my studies and caring for our community, but I also feared that my future would still end as a housewife. At some point, I realized that while I love and respect my parents, I believe in myself and have decided that I want to pursue my own dreams by continuing my education and becoming a physician.

I aspire to create a program to get minority girls interested in STEM careers by connecting them with mentors from the STEM field. Leveraging other successful women from similar backgrounds and languages to speak with South Asian young girls would be a tool to help combat these harmful cultural expectations. I believe mentorship programs can help empower young girls and change outdated gender roles. The most difficult part of this project would be engaging with girls who struggle with the local language. Without language, it will be hard to help them see the benefits of getting girls involved in STEM careers; deeply held cultural beliefs are hard to change with language barriers. Fortunately, I had a mentor to speak my native language to help me progress in my studies and career. I would love to give this same chance to girls who are struggling with the local language.

Peace’s story centers on protecting young girls and overcoming cultural barriers.

A woman, Peace Agbo, TWB Community member.

“The fear of who is next lingers in the mind of every parent.”

Just like it was yesterday, I remember the day my neighbor’s child was raped. I was a teenager then and I was sitting outside chatting with my friend. Then, suddenly we saw my neighbor’s child, Monifa, cross the road from the barber’s shop to the place where we sat. She walked in an uneasy and awkward manner holding a bag of biscuits with a gloomy face.

“Monifa, are you okay?” I inquired. She looked at me and didn’t say a word. Later that day I saw my neighbor shouting and seeking help as her little daughter was bleeding. The little girl confirmed that the barber had raped her – a six-year-old child. The police arrested and detained him for some days, but he was quickly released. However, the shame and humiliation he suffered from people sent him away from our area. Monifa is now a grown woman, but her first sexual experience is a pain that she lives with all her life. 

The fact that the mother acted, that the case was reported, and that the culprit was arrested is a positive indicator of the direction our society needs to take if we are to curb violence against women. On the other hand, the fact that he was released a few days later, without further charge and conviction, is a testament to the systemic and cultural obstacles on the path of seeking justice for rape survivors and ensuring that culprits are punished for their crimes.

A woman, Peace Agbo, looking at the window.

Rape victims in my country are beginning to speak up with courage and name their abusers despite the fear of stigmatization, and reprisal, some of the reasons victims have kept quiet for so long. If we do nothing to fight rape, if the law cannot protect people, if abusers can walk freely on the streets a few days after abusing a person, soon our young daughters will be afraid to go out because of the fear and trauma of meeting face to face with their defilers.

 – Peace

Amnesty International reports that following the lockdown imposed to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in 2020 in Nigeria, there was an upsurge in cases of rape: “As reports of rape escalated across Nigeria, state governors declared a “state of emergency” on rape and gender-based violence. They also promised to set up a sex offenders register. But over a year since their declaration, nothing has changed.”

A woman, Peace Agbo, looking at the sunset sky.

TWB, now part of CLEAR Global, has been advocating for over a decade to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, especially in the aid sector. Sexual exploitation and abuse continue to occur in humanitarian contexts worldwide. We believe that prioritizing language and two-way communication can help prevent it. We worked with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) to make the humanitarian rules on sexual conduct clear and available in languages people can understand, so everyone knows what is acceptable.

We first developed a plain-language version of the principles. Then, we removed legal jargon and complex sentence structures to make the rules explicit and clear. Finally, we translated them into over 100 languages spoken on five continents – from Amharic to Vietnamese.

We want to thank our community members and writers, Chandler, Faria, and Peace, for sharing their stories of life’s inequity as women. It takes courage and compassion to speak up and share your own traumatic experiences for the sake of helping others. We are honored they have chosen TWB to tell their stories.

We would love to hear your story too, and share your experience or inspiration with us on social media.

And join the TWB community today for the chance to work on projects that help embrace equity.

Contributions by 
Chandler Stump, Spanish to English translator and TWB Community member
Peace Agbo, Igbo to English translator and TWB Community member
Faria Islam, English to Bengali translator and TWB Community member

Defying gender inequality: my women-led translation services company’s story

A TWB Community blog post by Maria Scheibengraf

A smiling woman: Maria Scheibengraf, TWB Community member
Maria Scheibengraf

Several authors have studied the dynamics of language and gender, highlighting how society has long perceived translation as a “feminine” activity. This idea is rooted in centuries-old stereotypes: Society has long seen translation as a secondary and derivative activity – unlike the “creative” arts such as literature and poetry. So women undertaking such “lesser” tasks in the shadows was nothing more than a common expectation.

In other words, “Originality, creativity and authority, depicted ’masculine,’ had patriarchal authority empowering them to relegate whatever was female to secondary roles.” (Abdelgawad, 2016). The advice “Good translators are like ninjas – if you notice them, they’re no good” is no accident. I think the underlying message that nobody dares to say out loud is that women should not steal the spotlight from the men authors, deemed to be the real creative geniuses.

In this article, I want to talk about how my experience with leading a translation services company has allowed me to defy traditional gender roles and expectations. My business, which is woman-led and staffed by women, offers translation services for traditionally men-dominated fields such as software, marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization). I’ll start with some personal views about translation, inequality, and the need for empowered women in our industry. Learn more at crisoltranslations.com

Structural inequality is at the root of our industry’s gender divide

The unconscious perception of translation as something “inferior” isn’t the only factor standing in the way of a more equitable gender distribution in the industry.

There are also structural and economic aspects to consider, such as translation work being more suitable for independent contractors than other activities – it’s easier for women to juggle their family life and professional commitments by working as translators.

Because, let’s face it: Women often take the lead in family-related matters, while their men counterparts usually focus on their careers. In Argentina, for example, the distribution of unpaid work in a heterosexual couple is still largely unequal, with women spending up to 6.5 hours a day on housework and caregiving vs men’s 3 hours.

Women choosing translation because of its flexible work hours isn’t an intrinsically bad thing – with freelancing and entrepreneurship comes the potential for higher earnings, which means it’s easier to shatter the glass ceiling. The problem lies in the deeper inequalities that prevent women from finding the time, energy, and resources to make their businesses succeed. How can one possibly balance parenting, running a household, and the pursuit of an entrepreneurial venture without falling into an even deeper pit of exhaustion?

The result is that the vast majority of women translators end up stuck in a cycle of low-paying (don’t get me started on bottom-feeding translation agencies), sporadic gigs, and unable to move forward in their careers. And those few men that do choose the translation industry? They are the ones who can access better-paid and more secure positions. You’ll find them in privileged positions such as managerial roles, executive-level collaborations, speaking engagements, and other high-status opportunities.

Something doesn’t add up

I’ve always thought: if translation is indeed a women-dominated field, then why do so many high-prestige opportunities – translating best-selling books, interpreting at televised events, etc. – seem to skew heavily toward men, featuring a disproportionately low number of women translators? Either there’s a genetic prerogative (which is obviously impossible), or there’s a significant amount of discrimination against women.

My theory is that, when it comes to prestige and visibility, the best opportunities are usually reserved for those who already have the most privileges – men, white people, etc. Put differently: Even if there are no (direct) barriers to accessing translation work, the best opportunities are likely to go to those who already enjoy a certain degree of material and social privilege. Once again, I’m talking about structural inequalities.

All-permeating discrimination, gender and otherwise

One would think that the 21st century would be the age of equality. But, sadly, this is far from being true in many parts of the world – and in our industry too.

About six months ago, I was shocked to find that a renowned industry magazine had launched a nomination for a so-called “Sexiest in localization” award. Granted, they took the precaution to speak of “people” and not “women”, but I found it outrageous that 2022 could still be the year of making people’s looks a factor for recognition. In an industry where the majority of them are women. And despite the magazine saying that by “sexy” they meant “skill, confidence, and intellect” (what?!).

I’m focusing on gender in this article because it’s Women’s History Month. But if we’re to talk about gender inequalities in the translation industry, we must recognize that other forms of discrimination – such as racism and xenophobia – are also rampant.

See Sarah’s post below for another example – how did no one realize that an Asian SEO conference with no Asian experts (international SEO and SEO translation are fields within the translation industry) was just wrong?

A post highlighting the absense of Asian speakers at an Asian CEO conference

My experience as the co-founder of a women-led translation company

Back in 2011, when I started freelancing as a translator, I was already aware of the gender disparities in the field. But then again, I’ve always been overly conscious of any kind of inequality.

I’m autistic, you see (apparently we come with superpowers, one of which is sensitivity to injustice). I guess that also places me at the intersection of two discriminated groups, neurodivergent people and women. I could add that I grew up in an underdeveloped economy where translators receive peanuts for their work.

The stubborn feminist I am, and fuelled by my desire to make the translation industry a better place for all of us, I dreamt of founding a business that would thrive while giving ethics and fair pay the priority they deserve. A sort of “if you can’t find the example, be the example” manifesto, if you will.

That’s how I became the co-founder of a women-led translation company in 2016, together with my three best friends from uni. We proudly run a business that’s built on three pillars: fairness, inclusivity, and camaraderie.

I won’t lie and say it was all easy. It wasn’t. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to battle mansplaining, unwanted comments about my looks, a skeptical attitude towards women in business, xenophobic remarks, or the occasional negative comment about my autism.

The fact that we provide marketing translation and SEO translation services for a typically men-dominated field – software – didn’t exactly help pave the way for us either (SEO also features a higher proportion of men than women). Yet here we are, four women entrepreneurs, fighting the fight and striving to make our mark in a world where we often feel like we don’t belong.

The rewards of being part of a revolution

It may have been tough sometimes, but my business has achieved great things too: we operate ethically, we organize regular training sessions and events to promote career development opportunities for freelance translators, and we annoy at least three bigots a week on social media. Add a few public call-outs to exploitative agencies, and I think we can safely say that we’ve made an impact.

The best part, if you ask me, is the community of women entrepreneurs that we’ve been able to build – a wonderful group who support each other, celebrate each other’s successes, and act as a safe haven in an often hostile industry. A great example is that I asked one of them (María Leticia Cazeneuve, from Humane Language Services) to give this article a look and suggest ideas on how to make it better. On a Saturday. And she immediately said yes.

It can be done: we can create an open and inclusive translation industry for everyone. We just need to work together and keep fighting the good fight. This Women’s History Month, and every month, may all of us be inspired to push for change and make a difference.

About TWB and CLEAR Global

Translators without Borders (TWB) is a global community of over 100,000 language volunteer translators and language specialists offering language services to humanitarian and development organizations worldwide.

TWB is part of CLEAR Global, a US-based nonprofit that also comprises CLEAR Tech and CLEAR Insights. CLEAR Global helps people get vital information and be heard, whatever language they speak. We do this through research and scalable language technology solutions that improve two-way communication with communities that speak marginalized languages. Learn more about this important work at clearglobal.org 

Follow us on social media:

Read more on women’s rights and equity this International Women’s Day

Guest post written by Maria Scheibengraf, English to Spanish translator and TWB Community member. 

Stop labeling women as vulnerable

A TWB Community blog post by Mariana Estrada Ávila

About Mariana

Mariana Estrada Ávila is a specialist in communications and human rights. She has been working with international organizations for more than ten years. In 2018 she collaborated with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in the launch of the #IndigenousWomen global campaign.

A woman, Mariana, TWB Community member, smiling to the camera

It’s time to change the narrative on vulnerability, embrace equity and make women visible

If you work in a humanitarian or development organization, it is likely you’ll  have read or even written or translated many reports, projects, or press releases that mention supporting a common but ambiguous group: “the most vulnerable people.’ And if we look deeper into this vague concept, we find that the first in line are women, followed by children, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, and people with disabilities, among others.

However, in many interviews, rural women, indigenous women, black women, migrant women, and women with disabilities, have agreed that women are not vulnerable people per se. Needless to say, the same goes for Indigenous Peoples, children, migrants, and people with disabilities. As medical doctor and indigenous woman Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine explains, they are people who have been placed in situations of vulnerability by different factors, such as a lack of respect for their rights, marginalization, discrimination, and violence, among others.

Why is the term “vulnerable” problematic?

First and foremost, because it invisibilizes. The problem with the use of such a vague and generalized term as “the most vulnerable people” is that it makes invisible the population that we are trying to prioritize and it ignores the causes of their vulnerable situation. Who knows who you are really addressing when you address such a heterogeneous group? How can you make programs that really help to solve their challenges if the diverse and complex issues and roots are ignored?

Second, the term “vulnerable” carries a negative connotation. It implies that the problem lies with them, or that certain people have some intrinsic characteristics or traits that make them vulnerable. This point has already repeatedly been underlined in the public health sector. The article ‘Vagueness, power, and public health: use of ‘vulnerable‘ in public health literature’ (2019) highlights that the term the most vulnerable people tends to put the burden on the people who are affected, implying that even if programs, policies, and processes change, their vulnerability will remain.

Women are not born vulnerable

Half of the world’s population is not born with fewer capabilities or inherent vulnerability. The systematic lack of respect for women’s human rights, and its intersection with other factors, such as violence, discrimination, or marginalization place women in complex situations of vulnerability. 

For example, see this report published in 2021 on Complaint and feedback mechanisms: Effective communication is essential for true accountability in Nigeria. TWB noted that a lack of access to information in a crisis context could reinforce a situation of vulnerability, whereby women in particular, who often have less access to education and less opportunity to learn other languages, could be disproportionately affected by the lack of information in their own language.

Women around the world have advocated for programs and initiatives that address the root causes that can limit the development of their full potential, rather than an approach that builds on, and reinforces an assumption that they will always need assistance, and can’t lead change. As Pratima Gurung from Nepal underlines, it is important to recognize and make visible the potential of women to contribute to the development of communities and society. 

Using the power of language to change the narrative on vulnerability

What can we do? No one knows the power of words better than those who use language as their main tool of work. First, it is important to promote a general reflection within our organizations. Through our use of language, are we reinforcing society’s tendency to position women as “vulnerable”?  After all, language is one of the most essential components of social dynamics.

Secondly, instead of using “the most vulnerable people” as a catch-all, let us try to identify and name the groups we are really referring to. Let us think about the causes that have put them in this situation. As an example, instead of saying “this COVID-19 pandemic response program will help the most vulnerable people” we can try “this program will help women who were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic“. This allows us to clearly visualize our target population and the causes that have put them in a vulnerable situation. 

As writers, translators, and communicators we have the power to change the narrative around vulnerability and thus contribute to reinforcing and making visible that there is something behind this condition – that vulnerability is not inherent to women or other people. 

It is important not to forget that a human rights approach to language means focusing on the people and their dignity, rather than labeling them.

About TWB and CLEAR Global

Translators without Borders (TWB) is a global community of over 100,000 language volunteer translators and language specialists offering language services to humanitarian and development organizations worldwide.

TWB is part of CLEAR Global, a US-based nonprofit that also comprises CLEAR Tech and CLEAR Insights. CLEAR Global helps people get vital information and be heard, whatever language they speak. We do this through research and scalable language technology solutions that improve two-way communication with communities that speak marginalized languages. 

We believe in increasing equity for all people, especially those that are disproportionately affected by language barriers. We endeavor, in our communications, to amplify voices that are marginalized due to a lack of resources in their language. We want to create systematic change in the way the world communicates. This means putting people at the center of our programs and prioritizing humanity and dignity. As a nonprofit, we’re guided by the humanitarian principles of humanitarian aid which means delivering lifesaving assistance to people in need, without discrimination (UNOCHA). Learn more about this important work at clearglobal.org. 

Follow TWB on Facebook and LinkedIn. Follow CLEAR Global on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Read more on women’s rights and equity this International Women’s Day

Guest post written by Mariana Estrada, English, and French to Spanish translator and TWB community member

Unlock the power of language with the TWB Learning Center

Discover our free online translator training courses: launching TWB’s new-look Learning Center! 

Introducing the new TWB Learning Center – a place for community members to gain experience in humanitarian translation and learn in-demand language industry skills. 

Part of CLEAR Global, TWB brings together over 100,000 language volunteers globally, helping people get vital information and be heard, whatever language they speak. Together, we’re dedicated to translating and localizing important information to support the world’s most marginalized people. Our community members work to help our nonprofit partners worldwide provide lifesaving multilingual messages, ensuring everyone can understand. Now we’re launching our new-look Learning Center and brand-new, self-paced online translation courses! The TWB Learning Center is a great way for newcomers and language professionals alike to continue to develop their skills and stay ahead in the industry. So, dive in and get ready to learn something new!

Photo: All community members who successfully complete a course will attain a downloadable certificate. Here are our TWB Nigeria team members with their certificates. 

Explore new translator training opportunities exclusive to TWB Community members

Available courses: 

Every contribution matters – in every language: making translator training accessible 

Our team of experts has revamped the existing e-learning platform for translators to provide our community members with free, high-quality courses. These courses are designed to be accessible to both experienced localization professionals and those of you who speak marginalized languages. Even if you’re starting from scratch. Perhaps you speak a language that lacks useful translation training resources? Whether you are looking to refresh yourself on the basics, or learn about machine translation and translating for humanitarian contexts, TWB’s Learning Center courses allow you to develop and apply your language skills. So you can make a bigger impact professionally, and personally. 

Our community members help us make vital material accessible to more people around the world. The work you do matters. You’re helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people get answers to their questions in times of crisis, know their rights, and how to stay safe when forcibly displaced. You’re helping people get accurate and reliable health information. And you’re helping those who are most impacted by climate change protect themselves and our planet. 

Grow your skills and translate for good

The TWB Learning Center offers community members a variety of interactive, self-paced online courses to learn and grow professionally and acquire new skills. Our courses empower linguists and non-professional bilinguals to participate in humanitarian and development translation tasks on the TWB Platform and initiatives for making their languages part of global conversations. These courses cater to everyone, from newcomers to the language industry with no previous experience, to professional translators who are looking to keep up to date with the latest innovations. In the TWB Learning Center, TWB Community members can choose to improve and build their capabilities in areas of their choice, such as translation, machine translation post-editing (MT PE), our computer-assisted translation tool (Phrase TMS), target terminology development and glossaries, desktop publishing, and more to come.

New to TWB, translation, or the humanitarian field?

Everyone is welcome. Our courses are designed to be accessible by speakers of low-resourced and well-resourced languages alike. If you’ve not yet joined the TWB Community, you can sign up today. Learn more about the community and join here. If you’re new to translation and the humanitarian field, complete the TWB Learning Center courses to learn about our translation tools and get practice using your new skills on impactful projects. 

Work towards your professional goals with TWB:

  • Learn about key translation concepts and tools
  • Get familiar with the tools and skills you need to start working on translation tasks with TWB and in your career
  • Develop the experience and capability to take on more complex translator training and explore more specialized topics
Photo: a sneak peek of our Learning Center. Ibrahim, left, with a participant testing out a device powered by community members’ translations. It enables displaced people in Bakassi camp, Nigeria, to give feedback to camp staff in their own language. It lets people listen to vital information that matters to them, like how food distribution works.

Don’t miss out – course certification 

Once you successfully complete a course on the TWB Learning Center, you can download a certificate. Showcase your skills, share certificates with your network, and enhance your resume. We love to see our global community learning and growing – here are some posts people have shared after completing their courses – why not join them? 

Our language volunteers shared their experience

We spoke to Yuriy Kovalenko, English, Ukrainian and Russian translator  who shares our love for learning on the TWB Platform

“I have been working with TWB for almost two years, but more actively since the full-scale war in Ukraine started. Now, for almost a year, the flood of information, manuals, and reports was overwhelming and this required faster rendering of diverse texts into the target language. Faster, but maintaining a high quality of translation, meeting deadlines, sustaining attention to detail, localization, and consistency, to name a few. TWB has a user-friendly platform, comradely and supportive staff, detailed and easy-to-follow Translator’s Toolkit for newbies, a Guide for TWB Community members, and Language Quality Inspection/Assessment.”

Photo: Yuriy at work.

“When I was invited by TWB to attend their online course on MT PE (machine translation post-editing), without hesitation, I signed up and learned how to apply my skills in a more efficient way. Now, this experience allowed me to understand better how machine translation works, and how AI (artificial intelligence) can be helpful in many respects. I now find it easier to translate more accurately using other different platforms and CAT (computer-assisted translation). I definitely recommend these TWB courses to any aspiring professional. The knowledge, skills and experience you acquire and hone will be invaluable. In my case, working with and learning from the TWB made me feel more accomplished.” 

Yuriy Kovalenko, TWB Community member.

Mirriam Kitaka joined TWB as a young Swahili translator:

“I joined TWB in 2019 after a thorough Google search for a translation website that could give me an opportunity to grow as a young translator, and this was two years after my mentor introduced me to the field. When I found TWB, I joined as a Swahili Translator Volunteer (TWB Community member). I have since translated, reviewed, and proofread a lot of tasks on the TWB platform. Under the community recognition program, I have been awarded a Certificate of Volunteer Activity and a Reference Letter as a Translator, not to forget a phone top-up for attaining the minimum threshold designed by the organization.” 

“TWB has given me the opportunity to take courses which have scaled my translation, proofreading, editing, and reviewing skills. For me, they offered specific content and information, especially in the humanitarian field. They are very nice and rich courses that I would recommend current and upcoming translators to study through elearn.translatorswb.org. As I write this, I have donated 42,870 words already. I am also working on a very huge revision project. And I can also confirm that I am now a “TWB Traveller!” Thank you Translators without Borders and CLEAR Global for the opportunity to save lives through my native language.”

Mirriam Kitaka, TWB Community member.

Your invitation to join us

Go ahead and explore the Learning Center’s free translation courses today at elearn.translatorswb.org 

If you’re new to TWB – sign up here. 

Our goal is to make our training resources multilingual, with a special focus on low-resource languages. We are starting by translating our Basic Translator Training course with the support of our community! Our team hopes to make it available in at least ten languages this year. By March, we will upload module two of the Basic translator training course, plus a brand-new course on how to use CAT tools including Phrase TMS. Behind the scenes, are also working on making new training courses available on language quality, developing glossaries, and more. 

Watch this space as we learn and grow together!

We thank Microsoft for their kind Azure donation which hosts much of our language technology resources.