Helping the World, One Translation at a Time

It's that time of year again -- time to focus on the good deeds and charitable giving initiatives of the language services industry. How did translation and interpreting companies give back and pay it forward over the past twelve months? Let us count the ways:

Helping disseminate linguistic and cultural knowledge. If everyone spoke the same language, translation wouldn't be necessary, right? That didn't stop Eriksen Translations from donating its translation, subtitling, and voice-over services to the We Are New York project, an Emmy-winning television series designed to help immigrants learn English. In a similar vein, Blue Pearls supported those who could not afford the price of English education through various charitable activities. Meanwhile, Terralingua started the Voices of the Earth project to document oral traditions and transmit them to younger generations.

Fighting for cures to diseases. CETRA has raised more than $40,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, including $16,000 in its most recent fundraiser. Global Language Solutions (GLS) team members participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and also provides financial and in-kind donations to Talk About Curing Autism. ALTA participates in AIDS Walk Atlanta, the Southeast's largest fundraising event for AIDS research.

Looking out for underprivileged children. UK-based Wolfestone Translation conducted various fundraisers for children, and enlisted the help of its customers by inviting them to donate to BBC Children in Need with each translation performed. Indian translation company Lyric Labs donated money, school uniforms, and study materials for schoolchildren in rural Tamil Nadu. Verztec held a fundraiser for Life Community Services Society, which serves poor and needy children throughout Singapore. Ccaps sponsored the education of a child in Brazil, while Poland-based Argos Translations supported the Children's Aid Foundation, among numerous other charities. Translation Plus now sponsors 40 children through Save the Children and Child Fund. Babylon launched a donation program called Babylon in Every School, to give children access to language resources and dictionaries. Skrivanek has various giving programs, including one to provide study materials for children in rural Afghanistan.

Assisting disaster victims in Japan and Haiti. After the earthquake rocked Japan, translation companies such as Translia, thebigword, One Hour Translation, and Pacific Interpreters donated money, support for rescue workers, and other forms of aid. Companies like Web Translations and ETLS International offered free or discounted translations for Haitian Creole to help organizations involved in rebuilding Haiti's infrastructure. Translators without Borders is developing a medical triage dictionary for Haitian Creole, and ALTA has pledged resources to translate and record medical phrases. Fellow translation company Idem donated funds to the Haiti Earthquake Response by Doctors without Borders.

Supporting the needy in Africa and beyond. Anzu Global donates 10% of its pre-tax profits to charities, and hosted a fundraiser to support water irrigation in Niger. Logrus International donated to Turner Broadcasting's charity program for Ethiopia. CETRA participated in a donation matching program to support clean water in Cameroon. Amesto supports CARE Norway, the world's third largest aid organization. Carma makes monthly donations to Doctors without Borders as well as discounted rates to numerous other foundations. Multi-Languages Corporation supported vulnerable communities in Canada and elsewhere in the world. Schreiber Translations collected items and donations for people in need, and Euroscript implemented a corporate social responsibility and sustainable development management system. The SDL Foundation donated £25,000 to provide clean water and hygiene education to more than 1,300 people in eight different communities.

Donating services and support for important causes. ISI Translation Services translated the website for the Chiapas Project, and helped edit the Spanish translation of March to Freedom: A Memoir of the Holocaust. Lionbridge donated translation services for the Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia website, and In Every Language supported various contract interpreters. Twin Translations sprung to action to help colleague Álvaro Degives-Más, co-founder of the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association, raising money for emergency medical bills and treatment. The AIIC created a Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to interpreters in need due to accidents, illnesses, or other unexpected setbacks. K. International supported the environment, adopting a former coal mining site and setting a goal to plant 50,000 trees.

Translating one million words for humanity. Translators without Borders has donated more than one million words to humanitarian organizations around the world, equating to approximately $200,000 worth of services. It received major sponsorship from many companies, chiefly from Rubric and SDL. Other firms in the industry that donated their support included Applied Language Solutions, Asian Absolute, the Association of Translation Companies, Conversis, Exprimo, Folio Online, Global Textware, Lido-Lang, Lionbridge, Medilingua, Multilingual Computing, Petras & Associates, Priebe & Associates,, Simulta, STP Nordic Translation, and UNIT. Common Sense Advisory is also supporting the organization by providing an in-kind donation or a research study to explore the relationship between the lack of available translations and the disparities in available information in Africa.

To conclude in the spirit of giving back and raising awareness of important causes, please watch this heart-warming video, created by the Deaf Professional Arts Network (D-PAN) with support from Sorensen Communication. It showcases a group of children signing in American Sign Language to the 2002 White Stripes single, "We're Going to Be Friends." Indeed, for the many causes that needed support over the last year, the language services industry has proven to be absolutely full of friends willing to extend a hand to those in need.