Over 600,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh, many of them entire families – families broken by violence. This is a complex political and humanitarian crisis, and one of the most difficult language contexts Translators without Borders has ever experienced. There is almost no translation capacity in Rohingya so communication between responding aid organizations and vulnerable people in the refugee camps is extremely difficult. Furthermore, illiteracy levels among the affected population are high. A team from TWB has been deployed to Cox's Bazar Bangladesh to develop language capacity and resources in the language and format that people can understand. Follow our team's journey as they document what it takes to respond in our most challenging response yet.
Language Technology: TWB Blog by Executive Director Aimee Ansari
04 June - Language Technology Could Help 157 Million People Get Access To Information.
I was exhausted. It had been a great week in Bangladesh, but the overload of language, smells, refugee camp, seeing old friends, meeting new friends, government, donors, and all the while pretending like I wasn’t jetlagged, was taking its toll. I just wanted to go to sleep. My last meeting was in Dhaka with someone in the Prime Minister’s office. I had little hope of staying awake through the meeting. And yet, I was captivated...Read more.
Bangladesh Program Update
03 April - Bridging language gaps empowers people to communicate in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps
22 November - a TWB rapid assessment of language barriers in the Rohingya refugee response.
Bot Towan! #InterpretersMatter
31 Today was a bit grueling. We went to interview people who have newly arrived at Balukhali makeshift camp about cyclone preparation. We did that, and in the process confirmed what I already knew: specific skills are needed to act as a translator or interpreter in a crisis...Read more.
On the ground in Bangladesh. So – how do we communicate?
22 Having arrived in Cox's Bazar Rebecca Petras reports on the complicated situation on the ground, and how the ability to communicate with refugees in their language is a serious issue.
The language complexity in the current Rohingya refugee crisis is deep. I had only a faint understanding of it when I landed a few days ago; I have a slightly better sense now...Read more.
Taking action in the Rohingya crisis: TWB’s biggest language challenge yet
17 - Rebecca Petras travels to Bangladesh to launch the TWB response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.
We urgently need to fund activities for this response so as to ensure this vulnerable population has access to the information they need, in a language and format they understand.