Here are some projects that Translation Commons volunteers have worked on, reaching many multilingual and global communities in a timely fashion in times of need.
LDI Guidelines and Resources
“I want to have the same experience as everyone else online, but in my own language. ” This was the repeated refrain from participating representatives from indigenous communities at the UNESCO events to launch the International Year of Indigenous Languages. TC has created a pathway for any language community to completely digitize their native language; that is, to enable their language to be used on digital devices such as smartphones, computers, tablets, etc. We seek equity for all people to create and access digital content of every kind in their own language.
For many Indigenous communities, the first barrier to using their language on laptops, tablets, or mobile devices is the lack of an input method. The LDI team has launched the Keyboard Creation Project to support any language community interested in developing a keyboard specific to their language and script. These may be on-screen or adapted to a hardware keyboard.
This program, within the Language Digitization Initiative, focuses on creating linguistic tools and resources to assist communities to reach their linguistic and cultural goals.
The Sunuwar language, spoken in parts of Nepal and India, is written in a script that could not easily be typed on digital devices – until the community partnered with TC to take the necessary steps to digitize it. This successful pilot project has allowed TC to explore the scalability of encoding scripts in collaboration with an Indigenous language community, the Unicode Consortium, and other partners.
How do you reach people all over the world in an emergency – in their language – when time is of the essence? Especially when there are small language communities without translation services? Here’s how TC reached out across the globe in 2020 to share vital health and safety instructions from the WHO when COVID-19 struck.
Open Source Medical Supplies
A vital partnership: builders and translators. In a time of crisis where medical supplies were in short supply or non-existent in many places around the world, The Open Source Medical Supplies team created instructions for “maker communities” to fabricate ventilators, PPE, and other COVID-response equipment. They teamed up with TC who then made these invaluable instructions available in 15 languages used in 86 countries around the world, impacting countless lives.
Now you can access and create content in your native language and script. But what is your experience on the internet? TC supports the People-Centered Internet by translating their newsletters where they explore equity, ethics, connectivity, safety, resiliency, and more in the realm of on-line experience across diverse communities.
Child safety poster
TC partnered with World Childhood Foundation USA, the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, and the Child Sex Trafficking Team of the Office of the Texas Governor, amongst others, to advance their combined efforts in combating child exploitation and trafficking in the US. TC has provided expertise not only in translating materials, but consulting in the sensitive localization required to reach kids in precarious circumstances and whose native language is not English.
TC supports interpreters in both advocacy in an ever-changing digital work environment and in specialized training. TC’s projects include the investigation and creation of a forum for interpreters to share information regarding the pros and cons of emerging technologies in their profession. TC has also created a mentoring, training, and certification program for interpreters in under-served language pairs not commonly included in standard degree programs.