Translation and the Human Rights in Africa

Last year, I published a video about “Translators Without Borders”. As most of you know, this organization brings the voluntary translators together and tries to provide important translations to those who are in need. Africa is one of those regions. A recent study shows that with translation, we can save lifes and protect human rights in Africa. This makes sense because if you have the translation, the knowledge of different practices in the world (this may be medical, human rights etc.), you can better compare and defend your rights with concrete proofs in your hand. No need to get too far. 10% of world’s population lives in Africa and there are 2000 different languages. These languages are also needed to be translated. When they do not understand each other, they cannot contribute to politics together, they do not recognize their own legal rights, they cannot prevent the conflicts that arise from misunderstandings. Here is the article from the web site of Common Sense Advisory. Thanks author for highlighting the study of Translators Without Borders.

“Translation is critical for addressing information inequalities in Africa. But could translation also improve economic development, health, human rights, and safety of the citizens of Africa? Findings from a new study reveal that the answer is “yes.”

A new study conducted by Common Sense Advisory on behalf of Translators without Borders finds that translation is critical for the public health, political stability, and social wellbeing of African nations. The report surveyed 364 translators for African languages in 49 countries representing a total of 269 different language combinations. The results are detailed in a new report, “The Need for Translation in Africa,” which is available as a free download at:http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/Portals/0/downloads/Africa.pdf.

“We already knew that translation for Africa was severely lacking,” comments Lori Thicke, founder of Translators without Borders. “This report clearly shows that the need for translation is so striking that, for the sake of African citizens, it simply can no longer be ignored.”

“63.07% of respondents said greater access to translated information could have prevented the death of someone in their family or circle of friends,” explains Tahar Bouhafs, CEO of Common Sense Advisory. “This is clear proof that translation can save lives in Africa, and that the time to address this need is now.”

Africa is home to nearly 1 billion people, or roughly 10% of the world’s population. The African continent also boasts 2,000 languages spread across six major language families. Some of them – such as Amharic, Berber, Hausa, Igbo, Oromo, Swahili, and Yoruba – are used by tens of millions of people. At least 242 African languages are used in the mass media, a minimum of 63 are used in judicial systems and no fewer than 56 are used in public administration.

Key datapoints from “The Need for Translation in Africa” include:

  • 97.14% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help individuals in Africa understand their legal rights.
  • 95.85% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help protect human rights in Africa.
  • 94.92% of respondents said greater access to translated information would have a positive impact on the collective health of people in Africa.
  • 94.87% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help Africans in times of emergency or natural disasters.
  • 91.96% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help people in Africa contribute to the political process.
  • 88.78% of respondents said greater access to translated information would help prevent international, civil, ethnic, or communal conflict in Africa.
  • 63.07% of respondents said greater access to translated information could have prevented the loss of life of Africans in their family or circle of friends.

The report is available at: http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/Portals/0/downloads/Africa.pdf. ”

 

Visit our Facebook page for more news about translation and languages.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Advertisements

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ali K. Thabit on May 17, 2012 at 16:57

    Very interesting Material “Translation and the Human Rights in Africa” this is my first time to know that Africa is 10% of world’s population with 2,000 languages spread ocross six major language families. This information to me is very important, though names of the languages used in Africa is much more than briefed above. I highly appreciate the Publisher. Thank you.

    Reply

  2. Very interesting and informative post. I realized upon reading your post how diverse life in Africa is and the need for translation is quiet high.

    Reply

  3. This is quite conflicting for me as an African. My parents never taught us either of their languages, so my sister and I can speak fluent English but no African languages. However, it is very true that the languages (and the tribes associated with these languages) are truly heterogenous. I believe the initiative is wonderful, and I have shared this post to try to get other African people interested.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: