Translation for Non-Governmental Organizations

05/03/13

Translation services are a much-needed budgetary line item for many entities. Corporations and companies of many sizes need these services as do news outlets and government agencies. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also require these services in order to present a clear and understandable message in multiple languages.

An NGO is a legally constituted organization that operates independently from the government of the country in which it exists and operates. In addition, they are not traditional for-profit companies either. An NGO is typically created by the citizens of a country to serve a particular need. Some examples of the aims of these organizations include the support and promotion of human rights, protection of the environment or the development of resources. NGOs are difficult to define since their purposes are so diverse.

They may or may not receive funding from their government but usually do exclude government officials from membership or leadership in the organization. This includes nearly any organization not directly run or influenced by a government.

The number of NGOs in operation around the world is enormous. In the US alone, there are an estimated 1.5 million NGOs in operation. Russia adds an additional 277,000. India has 3.3 million, 1 for every 400 or so of its citizens.

With so many organizations serving so many different needs in countries around the globe, accurate translation becomes a serious issue. Language cannot be a barrier to raising funds, expressing the message of the organization, navigating the various political systems and providing services to the people.

Many NGOs work internationally. They may need to explain their purpose or efforts in many languages to elicit support and funding or to gain permission to work in another nation. The details cannot be lost or misinterpreted due to translation errors. Documents from these organizations require special care.

It will take more than a simple on-line translation program to convert the messages of an NGO into another language. The attention of qualified and skilled translation experts and editors will be necessary for recreating the mission and passion of an NGO in a way that is linguistically accurate and culturally appropriate.

The accuracy of language is essential to any translation. The conversion of text from one language to another must be done with precision. That way, the NGO can communicate the ideas within the translated document in the same way as the original language.

Cultural concerns must also be addressed in translation. Some NGOs handle sensitive issues like education, women’s issues and health concerns. These ideas can be somewhat problematic in certain cultures. What is acceptable in one may be considered taboo in another.