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Everyone in Africa speaks English. Or do they?

Everyone in Africa speaks English. Or do they?

English Africa, French Africa, Portuguese Africa. We are accustomed to using these terms to designate different countries of Africa. Kenya is considered an anglophone country while Mali is universally regarded as francophone. But do these terms accurately describe the reality? In fact, these terms are misnomers according to Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe, the Executive Secretary of [...]

Call for Translation in Kenya’s Kibera Slum

We’ve been invited to Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, to talk about – of all things – translation. “We” refers to a delegation from Translators without Borders consisting of Paula Shannon, Simon and Harriet Andriesen, and myself. Kibera is a place we never expected to find ourselves in. The second largest slum in Africa after Soweto, [...]

Mentoring Congolese Translators for Health

Translators without Borders is matching European and African translators to help bring the first health knowledge platform to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tufts University, based in Boston, has created a dynamic multimedia health knowledge management system known as TUSK. In a project funded by USAID to train university and governmental bodies on pandemic threat response, [...]

Language can be the door that keeps knowledge out, or the window that lets it in

Language is crucial to solving many of the problems faced by the world’s poorest peoples. That’s because language is necessary for people to access knowledge, and knowledge is necessary for all the advances of civilization, from improving health and increasing longevity to fostering technical advances and scientific discovery, promoting democracy, improving agricultural yields, conserving water, [...]

The Elephant in the Access to Information Room

It’s exciting to see a roomful of smart, cosmopolitan people talking about saving lives by making knowledge more accessible. That’s what happened last week in London at the HIFA2015 conference, hosted by the British Medical Association. I travelled there with Simon Andriesen, fellow Board Member of Translators without Borders, and Joe Mairura, a Kenyan mental [...]

The Lack of Healthcare Information in Local Languages is Dangerous to the Health of the Rural Poor in Africa

As was evident during my recent trip to Kenya, people who live in rural communities in Africa have particularly fragile health because of factors such as HIV AIDS, malnutrition, lack of access to clean drinking water and tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and cholera. A general shortage of doctors and nurses as well [...]