tisdag 2 augusti 2011

Translating for Humanity - by Lori Thicke

Translators without Borders has just passed the one million mark: that is, in the first half of 2011, we donated over 1 million words to humanitarian organizations. This represents a contribution of around $200,000 to the important work of aid groups such as Doctors without Borders, Oxfam and Handicap International.


This year's donation doubles what we were able to achieve in 2010, thanks to a new automated project management platform created for us by proZ.com. But this is just the beginning! "Now that we have the capability of automatically connecting volunteers to the NGOs who need their help, we expect to donate three times as much by the end of this year," says Enrique Cavalitto, Translation Coordinator.


Since 1993, the worldwide community of Translators without Borders volunteers has been providing free translations to humanitarian organizations. Why is this important? Translation is essential if humanitarian NGOs are to carry out their missions.


Translation allows them to inform the world when a population is in danger. In the early days of the Haiti earthquake, Translators without Borders helped the French-speaking team of Medecins sans frontières tell international rescuers where help was needed.


Translators without Borders also helps raise worldwide awareness for issues such as land mine proliferation. We translated campaigns for Handicap International to publicize the plight of children who must cross-mined fields in order to get to school.


We also help in the fight against global problems such as deforestation. Through Translators without Borders, GoodPlanet.org has been able to speak to people in countries from Nigeria to Indonesia about the importance of protecting their forests.


Translation allows humanitarian groups to communicate with donors and raise more money. Zafen is a microcredit group helping entrepreneurs in Haiti start new businesses; Translators without Borders helps Zafen reach out to international donors by translating information about the projects needing assistance, thereby helping more Haitians escape misery.


Staff and volunteers who work for international NGOs, particularly in the field, tend to be from a mix of cultures; Translators without Borders helps ensure they are trained in their own language. According to Caroline Serraf of Medecins sans frontières, "If you have an Afghan doctor who is working in Uganda and you can only provide him with documents in French, he's not going to be able to do his job."


When Translators without Borders provides pro bono translations, we are freeing up valuable funds that can be used to further humanitarian missions. In the words of Gary Muddyman of Conversis, “Every dollar we save aid groups is another dollar available for caring for people in the field.”


What do the aid groups do with the money we save them? Alejandra Garcia from Medecins du Monde says, "Thanks to volunteers, we've been saving money and instead of using it for administrative purposes, we've been using it in the field: buying medicines, paying doctors...."


We’re proud of this work, but there are literally thousands of aid organizations who still need our help. We need to grow in order to be able to support them.


One area where our help is desperately needed is in taking down the language barriers to knowledge for people in the poorest countries. Our pressing goal is to help make critical healthcare information available for people in local languages such as Swahili. Too many people are literally dying for lack of access to information, because the information they need is locked up in a language they don’t speak.


Your sponsorship will have a great impact

Translators without Borders represents the translation industry in these actions around the world, so we are calling on all language services providers to join us now. Your sponsorship will have a great impact on humanitarian work. Among other actions, you will be helping NGOs:



- inform the world when a population is in danger

- raise worldwide awareness for important issues

- fight global problems such as deforestation

- raise funds for humanitarian actions

- train international staff

- care for more people in the field

- transmit life-saving health information


Join us today and be part of translating for humanity.

Lori Thicke


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