The mission of Translators without Borders is to provide people access to vital knowledge in their language through translation and interpreting, building language translation capacity at a local level, providing translation and simplification services that are culturally appropriate, accessible and open source, and raising awareness globally of language barriers.
Contract length: January-April 2018
Hours: 8 weeks’ work over this period
Location: Home-based with travel in Nigeria
Travel: 4 weeks, February
Application deadline: 4 December 2017
To apply, send your CV and a cover letter to [email protected], specifying the vacancy title in the subject line.
About Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of language professionals, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information every year.
Conflict over the last nine years has caused mass population movement in north-east Nigeria, with high risks of epidemic diseases such as Cholera and Hepatitis E at densely populated sites. Communication on disease prevention is complicated by the region’s linguistic diversity. Information on disease risks, transmission and mitigation is predominantly conveyed in Hausa, to communities whose mother tongue is largely not Hausa. It is unclear how far and how accurately health-related terms are relayed in local languages, or how well they are understood by communities at risk.
Without access to information in a language they readily understand, people have reduced scope for effective risk mitigation. The language used by communities to talk about diseases can offer clues to their understanding of who is affected and why, how disease is contracted or transmitted, and appropriate treatment and prevention. An exploration of the terms used in local languages, and what they say about understanding of these concepts, is planned to inform targeted communication strategies.
The study will build on the initial findings of an Oxfam study by an anthropologist undertaken in Damboa in March 2017 (summary available) and TWB research on language comprehension and preferences in Maiduguri in July 2017.
The researcher will lead a joint TWB-Oxfam study of health- and disease-related language for three endemic diseases of epidemic potential in north-eastern Nigeria (Cholera, Hepatitis E, and Malaria). The research will seek to understand how communities refer to these diseases – including the people they affect, the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment – and the beliefs and reasoning that underpin the language used. The researcher will draw on dialogue with communities to develop guidance on communicating on disease prevention in local languages in a way that will resonate with the people at risk. The guidance will subsequently be used to train Oxfam and other public health staff on effective disease prevention communication with the relevant communities, and results assessed.
● On the basis of literature review and email and skype/phone consultation with Oxfam and TWB staff and external project advisors, develop a methodology and interview framework for community research on the language used to describe the three diseases, to include provision for ethical research management (January 2018 – 1 week)
● Pre-test the interview framework and adjust as necessary, and subsequently lead the field research, in collaboration with Oxfam Public Health staff and with support from TWB language support personnel for the four relevant languages (February – 4 weeks)
● Produce a summary of key findings for each disease and language, and finalize it in consultation with other members of the research team (March – 1 week)
● Develop guidance sheets on communicating for prevention on each of the three diseases, highlighting findings from the research about language used and the concepts and beliefs they relate to in each of the four languages studied, and finalize these in consultation with language experts and Oxfam and TWB staff (April – 2 weeks)
● Academic research background, at least to the level of current Masters studies, preferably specializing in language-related study
● A track record of field research into the concepts evidenced by language and their implications for community engagement and behavior change would be a bonus
● Demonstrated understanding of language barriers in relation to health, communication for development, or other humanitarian or development issues
● Familiarity with the context of (north-east) Nigeria or other conflict settings and developing countries would be a bonus
● Excellent writing skills in English with a capacity for plain-language communication
● Experience of working in teams, ideally team leadership
● Mature and collaborative personality, self-starter, flexible and committed
Terms and conditions
Oxfam/TWB will cover the following costs from the project budget:
● A return flight to Nigeria if researcher is resident elsewhere
● Visa and essential vaccination fees
● Flight, ground transport and accommodation costs in Nigeria
● Travel insurance appropriate to conditions in north-eastern Nigeria
● Per diems while in Nigeria, at Oxfam/TWB rates
● A stipend of $4,000, payable in two instalments, one on commencement of the assignment and one on satisfactory completion
The researcher will be expected to provide their own equipment and supplies (laptop, mobile phone, any recording equipment, stationery, etc.). Oxfam will include the researcher in any provisions for emergency evacuation and hibernation. Oxfam will brief the researcher on Oxfam’s security management plan and support on security risk management on the same basis as Oxfam staff; inter alia, the researcher will be included in Oxfam’s security communication network for the duration of the visit. The researcher will be responsible for abiding by Oxfam’s recommendations.
Translators without Borders employees and volunteers are made of people who believe passionately about the value of this work and take personal responsibility for achieving the mission. Translators without Borders’ mission and organizational spirit embody the core values established in its strategic framework:
Excellence: As the leading voice for communicating humanitarian information in the right language, Translators without Borders is a leader in the translation industry and in the non-profit sector.
Integrity: Translators without Borders believes that every person, whether it’s the people who we serve, our volunteers or our staff, has value, deserves respect and has inherent dignity.
Empowerment: Translators without Borders believes in using language to empower people around the world to control their own development and destiny.
Innovation: Translators without Borders recognizes and celebrates the power of innovation to address humanitarian and crisis issues around the world.
Sustainability: Translators without Borders recognizes that meeting our mission necessitates establishment and maintenance of a solid financial and organizational infrastructure.
Tolerance: Our staff and volunteers are highly knowledgeable and skilled; value each other, our partner and our recipients; create a supportive work environment; and, conduct themselves professionally at all times.
Translators without Borders is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourages qualified candidates of all genders and from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.