Sociolinguistic Researcher – Rohingya refugee response
The mission of Translators without Borders is to provide people access to vital knowledge in their language through translation, training of translators, building translation capacity in underserved languages, and raising awareness globally of language barriers.
Contract length: until the end of December 2019, with a possibility of extension
Location: Cox’s Bazar – Bangladesh
Travel: i.e. Minimal
Reporting to: Bangladesh Program Director
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 professional community of translators, 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 a year.
Following a series of attacks on police and military posts in northern Rakhine on 25 August by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and subsequent security operations by the Myanmar Military, an estimated 688,000 Rohingya women, men and children fled into Bangladesh. Most sought refuge in or around the border town of Cox’s Bazar. This is the largest mass refugee movement in the region in decades. An unknown additional number remain stranded, internally displaced or on the move in different parts of the three northern townships of Rakhine. This follows a similar pattern of events in 2016 when armed attacks on police personnel led to a major security crackdown which resulted in an estimated 87,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.
TWB is providing language and sociolinguistic support to respond to the complex language and communication needs of both the refugee and host communities. TWB is working as part of a Common Service for Community Engagement and Accountability (CSEA) project implemented in consortium with Internews and BBC Media Action. TWB is also supporting individual agencies with language expertise and services for activities that don’t fall within the scope of the CSEA project.
The Sociolinguistic Researcher is responsible for ensuring that TWB is best placed to advise humanitarian partners on issues related to the language, social and cultural factors that influence communication in Bangladesh. S/he will focus primarily on the Rohingya response in Cox’s Bazar District.
The Sociolinguistic Researcher will report to the Bangladesh Program Director and will work in close cooperation with the Country Director and the TWB team.
The role will evolve as projects and activities are developed to respond to communication and information needs. Flexibility and the willingness to adapt to constantly changing circumstances is important.
Linguistic knowledge gathering, documenting and sharing
- Regularly and systematically increase TWB’s knowledge and understanding of Bangla, Burmese, Rohingya and Chittagonian and the factors influencing communication in these languages. This will include initiating and maintaining contacts with various organizations and individuals within Bangladesh and abroad.
- Liaise with a wide range of organizations to advocate for the role of language in humanitarian response and gather information to adapt TWB’s outputs and activities to evolving language and communication practices within the humanitarian response
- Research and remain informed on current debates surrounding the development of and use of Rohingya scripts, particularly in terms of educational outcomes
- Design and coordinate sociolinguistic research projects to inform programmatic deliverables such as orientation, awareness, information and training sessions, consortium newsletter, fact sheets, language guidance documents, etc…
- Support TWB team members with the design of research workflows for glossary development, mother tongue education research, development of evaluation tools, etc…
- Contribute to comprehension research to field-test the effectiveness of various written, audio, and video communication products
- Contribute to evidence-based recommendations and guidelines related to communication and language to support other humanitarian agencies across the response.
Support to program delivery
- Support Language Leads by advising, reviewing translations, providing contextual inputs, etc… to ensure TWB’s written and audio translation work is of the highest standards
- Lead the creation of sectoral glossaries
- Contribute to advancing TWB’s global Gamayun initiative as requested.
- Contribute to tracking the outputs of various language-related activities, including, but not limited to: translations of documents and messages, advocacy, training, and capacity building of interpreters
- Contribute as necessary to the design and implementation of project evaluations
- Input into TWB’s contribution to the weekly CwC sector updates and other required reports
Any other duties as required.
The Sociolinguistic Researcher should be a creative self-starter with a strong sense of initiative and enthusiastic about the importance of increasing access to knowledge through language. The right candidate is an energetic team player who agrees with TWB´s Core Values and can work in field locations and virtually to collaborate with team members based around the world.
- Master’s degree in a relevant subject. (e.g. linguistics, sociolinguistics, language studies, research etc)
- experience or knowledge of humanitarian and/or development contexts
- Understanding of language as a barrier in humanitarian responses
- Demonstrated experience initiating and implementing innovative learning, evidence gathering and/or impact measuring at field level,
- Experience designing, coordinating, and implementing field-based research projects utilizing quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies
- Strong writing skills and the ability to communicate scientific data to communities, program staff, and partners in a simple and clear manner
- Training and presentation skills
- Verbal and written fluency in English and Bangla
- Working knowledge of Rohingya
- Verbal or written fluency in Chittagonian, and/or Burmese, a plus
- Experience working in Bangladesh and/or Myanmar, a plus
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 is 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.