We know words; we know words inspire, inform, entertain, and move people.
We know people; we know people act on personal, timely, and meaningful words.
At Wordbank, we believe that language matters. It’s at the heart of everything we do, and it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. While the business of localization is so often focused on the cost of language, we believe it’s an investment. For our clients, that investment is about growth, authenticity, and connection with their global customers.
Language is what makes us human, and people marketing to people will always deliver better results. To drive real action for our clients – to truly make a difference and inspire people with culturally relevant marketing – it’s all about using meaningful words in each target locale. And together that’s what we do. We send the right message, to the right people, at the right time, in the right way.
Because we believe that language matters, we are proud to sponsor Translators without Borders, an organization that works to make a world where knowledge has no language barriers.
WHAT DOES TRANSLATORS WITHOUT BORDERS DO?
The organization translates more than 10 million words per year for nonprofit causes by working with thousands of volunteer translators across the globe. They specialize in language solutions and help these organizations make an impact in the communities they serve.
Translators without Borders offers Words of Relief, a crisis response program that allows humanitarian responders to communicate in the local language for any crisis-affected communities they are aiding. Since launching the program in 2014, Translators without Borders has provided language support in crises such as the West Africa Ebola outbreak; the Nepal earthquake; the Zika outbreak in Haiti; and hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in the Caribbean and southern US. Their most recent crisis response has been in Bangladesh to support the Rohingya community, who has sought refuge there.
Development & preparedness
For non-crisis work, Translators without Borders helps build local language capacity for underserved languages. For example, they’ve developed Kató, their crowdsourced translation platform that connects volunteer translators directly with non-profit partners.
Translators without Borders also provides training for translators in local languages around the world. These training programs help more people have access to vital information, in the language that they can understand.
According to their research with Save the Children, 88% of migrant survey respondents prefer to receive information in their mother-tongue language, and 90% of them can’t understand spoken or written English.
The work we do with marketing localization tells the same story. Our 30 years of marketing specialization has shown that people are much more likely to engage with content in their own language.
This is why capacity-building programs and Translators without Borders’ mission to bring underserved languages online through their Gamayun Language Equality Initiative are so important. This effort makes resettlement, healthcare, and skills-building information more accessible to the people who need it most.
Translators without Borders has a core mission to raise awareness. They advocate for the importance of translation in support of development projects and crises that require humanitarian assistance. Their goal is to ensure that aid efforts around the world can provide information to communities, in the right languages.
WHY IT MATTERS TO US
Sponsoring Translators without Borders is a no-brainer for us. We already advocate for the value of language from both a business and human perspective. Plus, our core values of Excellence, Collaboration, Ambition, and Caring align with their values of Excellence, Integrity, Empowerment, Innovation, Sustainability, and Tolerance. It’s a natural fit.
Giving back & making an impact
As a certified B Corp, we strive to give back to our community in meaningful ways. We’ve all seen translations from marketing campaigns gone wrong. And while those can be embarrassing, failed translations can have a much larger and more serious impact on the world. For example, a person can’t follow health guidelines if they can’t understand how to prevent a disease from spreading. Without accurate, in-language information in areas with little media or reliable news, rumors and misinformation can have detrimental consequences.
From our own work, we know that the right words used in the right way can inform, entertain, inspire, and move people. But the key is the right words in the right language at the right time in the right way. This requires strategic thinking and planning to achieve the widest possible positive impact.
Our approach to people
Translators without Borders’ capacity-building and development programs especially resonate with us. Our own work wouldn’t be possible without our freelance network of 4,000+ language professionals in over 315 languages and 118 countries. Our industry is, unfortunately, not known for always treating translators fairly. With low wages, high demands, and transactional, often disposable, relationships with linguists, many LSPs devalue the biggest asset of language: the human translator.
One of Wordbank’s core goals and differentiators is to treat our in-country resources as well as we treat our staff and clients. We aim to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our linguists by valuing and investing in them, in their language skills, and in their development opportunities.
Almost 68% of our network has worked with us for over 5 years, and 28% has worked with us for over 10 years. We’re proud to have happy, engaged linguists on our team, which results in consistently higher quality for our clients. We achieve scalability, growth, and high-quality translation without sacrificing our values of taking care of our people and our part in the movement of “business as a force for good.” By putting our people first, we raise the value of language itself and, more importantly, of human language skills.
We’re proud that many of our own translators volunteer for Translators without Borders and contribute to their mission. We’re also thrilled to have built our own language capacity over the last few years. Working with clients who understand the value of language to their businesses, we’ve expanded our network of underserved languages such as Māori, Quechua, Samoan, Romansch, and Tongan, to name a few. We’re proud to do our part in keeping these languages alive and relevant.
We’ve made the first step in becoming a sponsor. But we aim to achieve a wider impact.
- We will continue to build awareness of language and why it matters through future blog posts and social media campaigns. We’ll also continue to advocate for the value of language with our clients, staff, and in-country resources.
- We seek to do business with clients who share our values. We partner with clients who value translation and localization as an investment in the growth of their businesses and work with us to deliver cost efficiencies in a sustainable way.
- We will tap into our own network of linguists across the globe to increase volunteering for Translators without Borders. Because we know our linguists so well, we can help with vetting the best of our best in support of their mission.