Volunteers Support International Work with Translation | The Center for Victims of Torture

Volunteers Support International Work with Translation

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In the world of global refugee crisis response, humanitarian professionals need to be ready for the challenges that come with new and often fast-moving projects. Recently, the CVT Ethiopia team traveled to Djibouti at the request of International Organization for Migration (IOM), to train their staff in techniques for working with highly traumatized Ethiopian migrants coming from Yemen.

The CVT team brought training materials with them, the majority of which were in English. However, once the team got to the location and assessed the variety of languages spoken – and knowing the technical nature of the psychology training documents – they determined that French would be the most accessible language for the materials.

Because the team’s original training plan did not include translation, they had to move quickly to find a solution. Volunteers in the United States took on the work of translating hundreds of pages of training materials, forms, worksheets and assessment tools into French, a process which took several weeks. One of the volunteers, Sophie Paine, works as a training facilitator, so she knew that translation is key to making each training session successful. She commented, “This is a very small contribution to try to assuage the ordeals of people fleeing conflict zones, especially Yemen.”

Volunteer Sophie Kerman has worked in the past as a medical interpreter in the U.S., translating for people who have recently arrived in the country. Sophie stepped up to help CVT, saying that it’s important to her to help connect people. She said, “I could see firsthand the ways that language could be a gateway to accessing critical services.”

CVT is grateful to these volunteers for stepping in on short notice and taking such great care with these materials that were so important for the healing of many in Djibouti.

Read here about the CVT Ethiopia team's training project in Djibouti.

Funding for CVT's programs in Ethiopia is provided by the United States Government and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. Funding for CVT's work in Djibouti was provided by International Organization for Migration and private sources.

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