Why we give to Translators without Borders


It’s that time when we all look back over the past year, assess our successes, identify areas for improvement, and start putting 2018 plans in motion.

As we shuffle ourselves between strategy sessions, budget reviews, and holiday parties, it sometimes becomes easy to forget that giving goes beyond family, friends, and colleagues. And the good intentions of supporting a charitable cause helping people at the opposite corner of the globe can unintentionally evaporate in the bustle of year end activities and festivities. And while many of us enjoy planning months, quarters, and even years in advance, during this season of giving it’s important to remember those who live day to day and may not have the luxury of planning beyond their next meal.

At Smartling, we’ve been building technology to service the localization industry for 8 years with the goal of facilitating digital content translation across any language, all cultures, and every market. But in the age of machine translation, artificial intelligence, agile software and technical integrations, even the best of us can overlook the fact that translation, at its heart, is a human endeavor. It is truly a universal challenge impacting cross-cultural communication that begs the question: in a world where people speak different languages, how can we connect with each other and create understanding?

As a leader in the localization industry, we want to help answer this question and solve this challenge across the globe, including for high risk communities and populations in crisis.

And in this vein, we at Smartling decided this year to become a platinum sponsor of the organization Translators without Borders (TWB), a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of language barriers and committed to giving people access to vital knowledge and information in their native language.

In a crisis, critical information in the right language can save lives. So often during humanitarian emergencies, aid workers and the people affected cannot speak the same language, which impedes communication of important information and hinders vital relief efforts.

One of TWB’s important initiatives, Words of Relief, is a crisis response translation network that helps improve communication between communities affected by a crisis and the humanitarian responders providing aid. Through Words of Relief, TWB works tirelessly to train and build networks of translators to provide immediate communication and translation assistance to these at risk populations. Currently TWB’s Words of Relief efforts are deployed in several regions, delivering help to Rohingya refugees, refugees arriving in Europe, and internally displaced people in Nigeria.

On behalf of all of us at Smartling, we’re proud to support an organization that goes to places no one wants to go, delivers critical information to people who have been forgotten, and gives a voice to those who have none. We hope this season that our colleagues and peers in the localization industry can recognize the importance of this work, too, and join us in our support.