“Freedom and safety shouldn’t be taken for granted in our world”

Inspired by the pain and suffering prevailing in many parts of the world, Ali Bai looked for an opportunity to help others. He had the feeling that he should do something – anything – to help the refugees he saw every day on television. However, he also felt that government assistance in emergency situations was too often bureaucratic and political, so he wanted to be part of a non-governmental humanitarian response. As a full-time translator and proofreader, Ali decided that Translators without Borders (TWB) was an obvious way for him to help people in need. So he joined our Rapid Response Team.

Joining the TWB Rapid Response Team

Ali has a BA in English Translation and an MA in General Linguistics, so he puts his training and translation experience to good use in TWB’s Rapid Response Translation Team (RRT). He now has the sense that he is making a timely contribution.

Translators have to work very fast in the RRT, while also maintaining a high level of quality and accuracy,” he explains. “I am lucky to have great co-workers and the environment is really welcoming. We all are dedicated to the purpose and we help each other in translating and editing.”

Ali’s tasks include translating texts from English to his native Farsi. The volunteer work is satisfying for Ali because he knows that every translation can make a positive difference in the lives of other humans. Of course, translating good news that gives promise to refugees is his favorite type of job and always gives him the greatest satisfaction.

putting yourself In their shoes

Like many of TWB’s volunteers, Ali fits his RRT work around his full-time job and other commitments. He often imagines life as a refugee who has lost loved ones in a war, and he thinks about how it must feel to decide to then risk traveling by sea to a safer country. He imagines the devastation that refugees must feel when they finally arrive on a foreign beach, only to realize that the food and shelter they desperately need is not immediately accessible due to language barriers.

I think providing refugees with material in their own languages not only helps them address their immediate challenges, but also makes them feel safe and that someone cares about them,” Ali says. He points out that refugees who have already experienced much pain and suffering are exposed to a kind of “second victimization” when they arrive in Europe. He asks,

“How can they make reasonable decisions without access to a familiar language?”

Ali, an Iranian, points out that his country has hosted millions of Afghan refugees over the past few decades. He is conscious of the positive impact they have had on his country’s economy.

These fellow human beings shouldn’t be seen as a threat to the integrity of European communities,” Ali insists. “I think by accepting and welcoming refugees, Europe can make an economic opportunity out of this crisis, while making life safer for refugees. Furthermore, we should always remember that any one of us might lose our home or family; freedom and safety shouldn’t be taken for granted in our world.”

Want to volunteer?

You can apply to become a part of the TWB Rapid Response team here.

Blog AuthorBy Kate Murphy, Translators without Borders volunteer

12 reasons to celebrate TWB in 2016!

celebrate twb

In 2016 we worked with some wonderful partners to change people’s lives through access to vital information in the right language. We believe that no person should suffer because they cannot access or understand the information that they need.
So lets celebrate TWB with a recap of our year:

January

In JANUARY we were providing translations in six languages to humanitarian aid agencies responding to the European refugee crisis.

Board with translated text
From left to right: Abdelah Lomri, former TWB Arabic Team Leader and Farideh Colthart, TWB volunteer interpreter

FEbruary

In FEBRUARY we worked with the American Red Cross to translate their First Aid and Hazard Universal apps. These apps help enhance individual disaster preparedness and response to emergencies.

march

In MARCH we announced the winners of our third Access to Knowledge Awards, in acknowledgement of their outstanding support.

april

In APRIL we partnered with Global Health Media Project, to bring multilingual health care instruction to practitioners of health through video.

may

In MAY we attended the World Humanitarian Summit where we advocated for the inclusion of language in humanitarian response.

june

In JUNE we made an impact with a new video on how Translators without Borders responds to crisis by working with non-profit partners globally.

july

In JULY we translated the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability into Swahili for partner CHS Alliance.

august

By AUGUST we had trained over 480 interpreters and translators and we had created the world’s first-ever humanitarian interpreter roster.

TWB's team in Greece
From left to right: Abdelah Lomri and Lali Foster, TWB team in Greece

september

In SEPTEMBER we trained 15 Guinean translators so that communities in West Africa can access more health care information in their language.

october

In OCTOBER following Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, we translated cholera prevention messages into Haitian Creole, for affected communities.

november

In NOVEMBER we developed the world’s first crisis-specific machine translation engine for Kurdish languages using content from our Words of Relief response in Greece.

december

In DECEMBER we reached 10 million words translated in one year, something we would not have been able to do without the help of our volunteers and
supporters!

We’ve had some great successes this year but there is still more work to be done! This holiday season, consider a donation to support the work of TWB.

5 ways to support TWB on #GivingTuesday

#givingtuesday

 

There are several ways to support TWB on #GivingTuesday. How can you help?

“When you learn, teach. When you get, give” – Maya Angelou 

Donate

Donate today to TWB and be in with a chance to win one of 10 TWB mugs! With our goal to translate 10 million words in 2017 in our sights, we also want to give back – 10 mugs for 10 lucky donors!*

Sharing is caring!

Share this email on #GivingTuesday using a simple post such as: ‘Today is #GivingTuesday. If you believe #LanguageMatters, then #SupportTWB by donating here.’

Organize Fun!

Organize a fundraiser in support of TWB. Our handy Fundraising Pack is full of inspiring ideas. Little or large, online or in the office, fundraisers help raise funds for TWB but also to raise awareness of our work.

Volunteer

Translators without Borders works with all kinds of volunteers. Sign up as a TWB volunteer today!

Amplify!

Some employers will double your fundraising for you by donating a matching amount – ask your employer today!

* We will be giving away 10 TWB mugs to the first 10 #GivingTuesday donors (valid from Monday 28 November 12am EST to Tuesday 29 November 11.59pm EST). Please specify that you are a Giving Tuesday donor in the donation form

TWB merchandise

Responding to a crisis from home

 Volunteer translatorsSelima ben Chagra

“I think the world has a lot more to offer to refugees than it is currently giving them”

 

With a deep personal interest in human rights, politics and foreign languages, Selima ben Chagra is a freelance translator and interpreter (French-English and Arabic-English) focused on translating and transcreating advertisements and commercials.

When she heard about TWB’s European Refugee Crisis RESPONSE project…

… Selina signed up straight away. “I didn’t really think it through,” she confesses. “I just wanted to help.” “Being a refugee is disorienting enough, but when you add in the feeling of helplessness that comes from an inability to communicate, facilitating understanding becomes even more important,” she told us. 

Selina earned an MA in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2015. Her experience as a translator and interpreter with the United Nations Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Arab States inspired Selima to work in the humanitarian field.  Since then her career has reflected her strong interest in international development and cooperation, and a passion for communication. Selina has spent the past fourteen years studying and working in the corporate, non-profit and inter-governmental sectors, including as a teacher of English, French and Arabic.


Volunteer translatorRawan Gharib

“Language offers both the charm of communication and the curse of ambiguity”

 

On an almost-daily basis, from her home in Giza in Egypt, Rawan translates media coverage of the European refugee crisis and its consequences into her native Arabic. She also provides people affected by the crisis with information on issues of more immediate relevance. In addition to things like weather forecasts, she translates information sheets that aim to clearly distinguish between truth and hearsay, and helps raise awareness of the risks of abuse by people smugglers, detention, or forced repatriation.

Rawan Gharib is a freelance translator and a creative writer, with a self-described “obsessive” hobby of music archiving. In addition to TWB, she also volunteers with Global Voices’ Lingua Project. While studying Hispanic Language and Literature at Cairo University, Rawan developed a passion for translation, and literature analysis and criticism. Her decision to get involved with TWB was intuitive, and her rationale is simple. “I’m a native Arabic speaker, a translator and a human; I felt it was my role to play.”

Rawan notes, “Language tends to be even more tricky and confusing in situations of fear or pressure. …Successful communication in such situations provides additional security, understanding and acceptance; which any refugee or immigrant needs.” 


VolunteerING

Selima and Rawan have dedicated over 50 hours each of volunteering time to Translators without Borders. If you would like to apply to become a Rapid Response translator, click here.

Making a difference to those affected by crisis

Volunteer translatorBashir Baqi

“The sense that people are genuinely helped by my translation makes me happy”

For more than 11 years, Bashir Baqi has translated a wide variety of texts between English and his native Farsi — from home appliance operating manuals, technical texts on philosophy, architecture, and psychology, to user interfaces, games, and Wikipedia pages. Bashir is also a freelance proof-reader and loves walking – whether by the ocean or through remote jungles.

A desire to help others

For the last few months, Bashir has donated up to twenty hours each week to the TWB European Refugee Crisis response project. He is driven by a desire to help other humans in the best way he can: giving them information in a language they understand. “The sense that people are genuinely helped by my translations makes me happy, and I wish I could do more,” he said. “Being able to do it as a volunteer, without egotism or obligation, gives me a positive feeling, and I would surely encourage other translators to try it too.”  

Bashir holds a Masters of Arts in Translation Studies from Iran’s Birjand University and a diploma in English from the Iran Language Institute. His clients have included the Iranian Ministry of Science, the Iranian police department, and various publishing companies.


volunteer profileOmid Xadem

 “I could see the pain of those who couldn’t communicate”

Omid Xadem, a Farsi-Dari-Tajik Persian linguist and researcher, is a member of the TWB Rapid Response Team in Europe. The current refugee situation is particularly personal for him. Omid traveled across Turkey for two months and kept seeing the same picture: refugee children working in shops, but unable to communicate. “In Konya, a city that is hosting a great number of Syrian refugees, I saw a little girl selling some handkerchiefs and other trinkets. She had nowhere to go, she didn’t seem to belong to anyone and she only spoke Arabic. I could see that she wanted help and to keep her dignity by working. And it really moved me,” relates Omid.

practical TranslatiONS

Omid joined TWB when the organization started looking for Farsi speakers for its Words of Relief program. With rich experience in translating and interpreting, Omid is working with the team on voice-over recordings, radio messages, written texts, reviews, and quality assurance. Materials that the team produces have very practical uses: updating refugees on the situation at the borders or about any impending complications, such as ferry strikes, informing them how to register and directing them to the right people – if they need a doctor or have lost their luggage, for example. Omid explains his work very simply: “lots of people on the ground are also volunteers. We are trying to make it easier for them to communicate with the refugees.”


INTERESTED IN VolunteerING

Bashir and Omid have dedicated over 50 hours each of volunteering time to Translators without Borders. If you would like to apply to become a Rapid Response translator, click here.