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 the possibility of extension / national position
Hours: Part-time (50%)
Location: Maiduguri, Nigeria
Application deadline: 2 April, at 5:00pm Nigeria time
Travel: some travel to field locations in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states
About Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-registered 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.
TWB conducted an initial assessment of language support needs in the humanitarian response in north-east Nigeria in July 2017. This found very significant levels of need: in a context where people affected by the conflict and food crisis speak dozens of first languages, humanitarian communication is overwhelmingly in English and Hausa. Organizations lack basic information about the languages spoken and understood by affected people and struggle to hire either language professionals or national staff and volunteers with the right language skills. Humanitarian staff voiced fears for the impact this could have on the accuracy of needs assessments, the effectiveness of program design, accountability, and conflict sensitivity. So far TWB has developed protection, mental health and psychosocial support and camp coordination and camp management glossary apps, conducted comprehension testing with IDPs, enumerators, and field staff, worked with partners on collecting and mapping language data, carried out trainings on the basics of interpreting and is piloting a multilingual feedback mechanism.
There is still much to do to fully understand how language barriers affect data collection, two-way communication between crisis-affected people and humanitarian agencies, and access to services. The research planned over the coming months includes better understanding the impact of language on service accessibility, the effectiveness and limitations of multi-lingual audio messaging, and the relevance of language in enabling crisis-affected people to express their needs.
Reporting to: Program Manager
The Waha Community Team Leader will be responsible for delivering high-quality Waha language translation, terminology development, and training services to humanitarian organizations in north-east Nigeria and will provide research, administrative and logistical support to other TWB activities as needed. The postholder will lead on recruiting, capacity building, and managing a community of translators in Waha, from among qualified translators and suitably skilled bilinguals in Nigeria and the wider region. The role will identify capacity building needs and coordinate training and support measures to respond to them.
Recruitment and management of the Waha language team
- Research and report on the existing capacity of professional language service providers (LSPs) for Waha in north-eastern Nigeria, identifying their training and support needs.
- Recruit a team of qualified translators and suitably skilled bilinguals for training and recruitment into a TWB community of translators (posting vacancies, shortlisting, interviewing, reaching out to universities, LSPs, community groups).
- Test Waha applicant translators to ensure high-quality applicants are selected.
- Train and coach new Waha translators to improve their skills and ensure they know how to use TWB translation platforms and glossaries.
- Manage and support the Waha language pool of translators to encourage exchanges of experience, sharing of learning, mutual support and a sense of belonging to a TWB team
- Manage the volunteer and translator incentive program.
Management of translation and language services in Waha
- Delivers high quality and timely translations to and from Waha, transcription and audio recordings in Waha language.
- Liaise between partner organizations, Waha translators and TWB’s wider translation team to take full responsibility for delivering high-quality translations on time.
- Lead for Waha in the provision of multilingual terminology support to humanitarian partner organizations, including terminology harvesting, collaborative development of sectoral terminology in relevant languages, and field testing.
- Support TWB in the implementation of field activities, including support to multilingual feedback mechanisms and communication with communities, support to language-sensitive rapid response, comprehension studies, needs assessments and wider research on language.
- Coordinate and co-facilitate training activities, including liaising with partner organizations on needs, timings, and venue; identifying suitable trainers with the right skills and languages; collecting evaluation forms; and maintaining a register of trained Waha translators and interpreters.
- Make sure that alternative workflows are in place and available to members of the Waha translator pool who cannot access and/or use TWB’s web-based translation platform.
- Research, contribute to and/or write language factsheets guides, dos and don’ts, etc.
- Participate in research and monitoring, evaluation and learning activities.
- Test interpreters to assess language competency levels.
- Identify needs for new translation technology tools and assist with the development and roll-out of new tools as they emerge (including online testing modules and audio translation).
- Support a peer network of interpreters and translators in north-east Nigeria.
- Provide administrative and logistical support to TWB’s activities in Nigeria as needed.
- Support TWB in scaling up operations in Nigeria, particularly with recruiting other language team leaders.
- Attend occasional meetings of humanitarian organizations to relay TWB messaging and report on discussions or decisions.
- Produce regular reports.
- Any other duty as required.
- Professional translation or interpreting qualifications and experience
- Excellent quality written and spoken Waha
- Good level of written and spoken English
- Resourcefulness and ability to innovate to find creative solutions
- Integrity and professional verbal and written presentation
- Team player; experience managing volunteers a plus
- Previous experience with non-profit organizations, particularly in development and/or humanitarian action, a plus
- Training experience a plus
- Familiar with office management (financial, logistics) routine is a plus
- experience of Computer Assisted Translation tools
- Track record of working with and managing volunteers and small teams
- 1+ year experience in translation or interpretation into Waha
- Experience in team work management/facilitation
- Mother tongue Waha speaker with superb Waha writing skills
- Willingness to travel to insecure locations for work
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.