We believe that everyone has a right to access to the vital information that affects them, in a language and format they can understand.
“In the first nine months, if people had been given proper messages, all this could have been prevented.” Claudia Evers, MSF Ebola emergency coordinator, Guinea, late in the Ebola epidemic speaks to the crisis of information that permeated the Ebola response.
In the Ebola crisis, with the populations of the three most affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, speaking over 90 languages, the crisis rapidly became one of information – and especially communications in the right language – as much as anything else.
In Kenya, TWB conducted a study to measure the impact of translated Ebola materials. We asked 200 persons 4 simple questions about Ebola. 8% of the questions were answered correctly. We then showed an English Ebola warning poster to 100 of them. 24% of the questions were answered correctly. Then we showed the same poster translated into local languages to the 100 others. The group that received the information in the local language answered 92% of the questions correctly.
How do we get information to people, in the right language, when they need it the most?
Within minutes of when the earthqake in Nepal hit in April 2015, people started responding. Calls for help appeared on social media and responders needed to reach those who were in danger. TWB activated a Rapid Response Team who monitored local language print and social media and started translating over 500 terms into Nepali, Newari and Hindi for search and rescue people. Translated Twitter messages which contained crucial information about first aid and protection during and after an earthquake were distributed widely. Read more about the response here.
“Quick, someone call a translator!”
Lali Foster, TWB's former Communications Manager for the European Refugee project, based in Lesbos, Greece, talks about communication challenges and solutions on the front line of the European refugee crisis response. Read more.
"To make a real difference in some of Africa's poorest countries, we should train more translators."
"We’re getting better at breaking down language barriers. Thanks to the likes of Google Translate, Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Skype, we can understand — and even communicate — across languages. " Read more
Wikipedia's medical errors and one doctor's fight to correct them
Dr. James Heilman says medical students and physicians are using potentially inaccurate Wikipedia entries. Read more