As a translation agency who works with a broad group of clients all operating in different vertical markets, at any one time we are involved with a plethora of seemingly very different translation projects. However, from projects where the output could be technical documentation for a biochemical organisation, through to projects where we are working on web or blog content for whiskey exporters, the one element that most of these projects will have in common is that the output is for commercial use. This means that the end result (or outcome) of what we work on is seeking a return on investment. Our clients pay us (the investment) for the work we produce (what will bring the return). We of course pay our translators and the net resulting figure is our profit. We are therefore a for-profit organisation.
But what about translation projects where there is no financial return on investment - not for profit projects for example? What about the needs of an audience that are not engaging in a commercial relationship with an organisation but need translated material?
Thankfully there are bodies and organisations that represent and manage the requirements of these needs. One such organisation is the fantastic Translators without Borders (TWB) who we have recently had the pleasure of providing in-kind support to.
Translators without Borders (TWB) are a not-for-profit organisation that provides translation services to humanitarian organisations. TWB states that it aims to ‘close the language gaps that hinder critical humanitarian efforts worldwide’. It does this by managing a series of programs that connects non-profit organisations with a community of volunteer professional linguists (translators and interpreters).
Currently working with more than 4,000 professional volunteers, they have been responsible for delivering over 40,000,000 words as part of their humanitarian crisis response, and health and education programming. Their work has involved providing resources to some of the world's most troubled locations including communities affected by Ebola in Africa, populations impacted by natural disasters such as earthquakes and refugees fleeing conflict zones.
As an organisation they understand that to be effective they need to understand who they are providing their translation services to. They design and create their responses by getting a clear understanding of who the audience is - what language they speak or understand, whether they are literate or not, are they stationary or on the move, technically savvy or using traditional means of communication. Only once they have established this are they able to craft the most appropriate response.
Having worked in the language industry for over 12 years and made a living during that time based on the output of translated communication, for me it is important to be able to give support to an organisation that provides translations to an audience that would typically be overlooked from a commercial perspective but have a critical need for translated material.
If you would like to make a donation to this amazing organisation or follow the fantastic work they do you can do so by visiting their website or their various social media profiles.