Organization provides open access to COVID-19 language resources for community organizations
DANBURY, Conn., USA – 08 April, 2020
Translators without Borders (TWB), an international NGO, is giving community organizations open access to its translation resources. TWB is launching the COVID-19 Community Translation Program to provide community organizations responding to COVID-19 with open access to its translation platform and community of translators. This access will allow organizations to connect directly with TWB’s community of over 30,000 translators, many of whom are generously donating their time to help people access COVID-19 information in their language.
TWB has received an unprecedented number of requests from small, local organizations desperate to translate information for their non-English speaking community members. Examples include translating travel ban information for refugees and immigrants into Chinese and Korean; translating what social distancing means into Spanish; and translating infection prevention and control information into Spanish, Chinese, French and Portuguese.
“If you speak a minority language, rumors may be the only information available in your mother tongue,” shares TWB Executive Director Aimee Ansari. “We hope that providing access to our community and translation platform helps people get the information they need in a language they understand.”
In addition to the COVID-19 Community Translation Program, TWB is translating verified COVID-19 prevention and awareness information in partnership with humanitarian networks and international health agencies. TWB is also monitoring social media content in six Asia-Pacific languages, in partnership with the Humanitarian to Humanitarian (H2H) Network, in collaboration with BBC Media Action, Internews, and Evidence Aid. The TWB team has translated over 170,000 words – in over 25 languages for partners including WHO, Red Cross, and Save the Children. TWB is developing maps that visualize languages and literacy levels in affected countries, as a better basis for planning COVID-19 communications. The organization is also producing a multilingual, plain-language glossary to support COVID-19 public information efforts.
“We need a COVID-19 global response that is fluent in more than English. Disseminating reliable information, quickly dispelling myths, and properly communicating preventive measures saves lives,” said TWB’s Executive Director Aimee Ansari. “And to do it right, we have to communicate in the languages that people speak and understand. ”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.” In the COVID-19 pandemic, non-English speakers are especially vulnerable to a lack of basic information about how to keep themselves and their communities safe.
TWB has reached out to leaders in the language services industry to ask them to support the organization’s efforts with a special Emergency Response Fund. Companies including RWS Moravia, Welocalize, Smartling, and generous individuals have contributed to support TWB’s rapid response work. TWB welcomes additional contributors to this fund, please go here for more information.
Community organizations interested in applying for TWB’s COVID-19 Community Translation Program for their emergency response translations, can go here for details. Priority will be given to organizations that are providing COVID-19 information for particularly at-risk groups.
This project was funded by the H2H Fund, which is supported by UK aid from the UK government.
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 lifesaving and life-changing information a year.
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