DANBURY, CT, USA – 29th April 2015 – The world’s leading non-profit translation organization, Translators without Borders (TWB), has mobilized translation specialists to help provide humanitarian assistance following the massive earthquake in Nepal. According to the latest report by the United Nations (UN), eight million people have been affected by the earthquake, of which over two million people live in the 11 severely affected districts. The death toll has risen to over 5,550 with over 8,000 injured. Water, food and electricity are in short-supply and there are fears of outbreaks of disease.
Translators without Borders activated a Rapid Response Team (RRT) as soon as news of the disaster came in from aid partners and crisis response teams on Saturday, 25th April 2015. We immediately issued a request for translation volunteers. This request resulted in a team of 25 professional translators and bilinguals, mostly from Nepalese diaspora, as well as an outpouring of support from other willing volunteers around the world. The TWB team has been working to translate documents issued by the first response aid agencies, including UNOCHA, the ICRC, Humanity Road, Standby Task Force and the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities Network (CDAC-N). The team members, who each complete a TWB-developed orientation on how to respond in a disaster, work collaboratively, translating and editing together.
“Communicating with communities in their own language is vital to the effectiveness and adequacy of relief efforts. It is essential if we are committed to reach people with life-saving information, practical advice and, very importantly, if we want to listen to what they say,” said Jacobo Quintanilla, Community Engagement Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “For example, having our #familylinks website in Nepali is key to let Nepalese people know we can help restoring contact with missing ones.”
The ICRC and other aid organizations use the #commisaid hashtag (communications is aid) to make more people aware that information and communication are forms of aid and should be a standard component in disaster preparedness, relief and recovery strategies.
“In the foothills of Katmandu and in the surrounding villages, there are many people who do not speak English and it is these people that have been badly affected by the earthquake,” said Andrew Bredenkamp, Chairman of the Board, Translators without Borders. “Translation really matters. Aid organizations need to communicate with local people in their native language. The TWB translation teams are delivering aid by enabling the flow of critical communications in the native languages of Nepali and Newari. The TWB team will continue to work hard to minimize the devastating effects of the Nepal earthquake.”
Here are some of the ways the TWB RRT has been helping those affected by the Nepal earthquake:
• Translated over 500 terms into Nepali, Newari and Hindi for search and rescue people and for people monitoring messages coming from the affected populations.
• Translated approved and sanctioned Twitter messages which contain crucial information about first aid and protection during and after an earthquake. These have been distributed widely.
• Translated and distributed a comprehensive First Aid document, English to Nepali, and ‘after earthquake’ messaging and public service announcements from the Centers for Disease Control.
• Monitored local language media, including print, radio and video; provided transcription of videos to help aid organizations improve response.
• Provided translation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for their #familylinks program to help find missing persons.
• Created a text-to-speech tool for Nepali, specifically designed for first responders.
How Can You Help TWB? You can support TWB in a number of ways:
By Donating. We are a small team and need funding to help keep TWB operating. Please consider even a small amount. To donate, please visit: https://translatorswithoutborders.org/donors
By signing up for our Biannual Newsletter and Monthly Updates. Our communications won’t overcrowd your inbox, but will keep you up to date all on the crisis, health and education work that TWB does around the globe. To sign up for our newsletter, please visit: https://translatorswithoutborders.org/News-and-Events
If you are a trained translator, please consider joining our Workspace. In the Workspace, we do ongoing translation work for our non-profit partners. We need more Nepali and Newari translators for that work. To sign up, please complete the volunteer form: https://translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteers/translator-app
You can also follow TWB on Twitter, @TranslatorsWB #TranslationMatters