Marginalized groups lack the information they need
DANBURY, Conn., USA – 12 December 2018. Translators without Borders’ latest study on comprehension among vulnerable populations in crisis evaluates the effectiveness of communication with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. It found that while information access improved in the past year, information gaps remain, with one-third of respondents still not receiving the information they need. Results indicate that spoken communication in Rohingya, as well as information in various formats and channels, should be prioritized for improved communication.
TWB has developed a systematic approach to assessing language comprehension and support needs among refugees. It focuses on languages spoken, preferred methods for receiving information, and overall access to information. TWB then tests comprehension of simple spoken, visual, and written information. That methodology was used to survey more than 400 adult Rohingya living in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Highlights and recommendations include:
- Access to information for refugees has improved significantly in the past year, but major gaps still exist, especially among women and less literate refugees.
- More than one-third of respondents did not understand a simple sentence in Chittagonian. Communication in Rohingya, the only language understood by all refugees, should be prioritized.
- Sixty-six percent of refugees said that they cannot read or write in any language, and comprehension testing broadly confirmed this. However, refugees did express interest in written information in brochure or pamphlet form that they can take away and ask for help in reading. Burmese is the preferred language for written information.
The research was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). It was conducted in partnership with IOM Needs and Population Monitoring and REACH Initiative.
More details and recommendations are provided in the report. TWB provides language services in Cox’s Bazar. It works in collaboration with BBC Media Action and Internews as part of a Common Service for Community Engagement and Accountability, and directly to humanitarian organizations serving the refugee population.
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 solutions and raising awareness of the power of language. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information a year.
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