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Januar 30, 2020 |

Why Translation Matters to Non-Profit Organizations 

How charities and similar organizations choose to communicate with the world has a direct impact on their results. In this sector, multiculturalism and multilingualism are essential elements, so translation matters for non-profit organizations. 

Whether they’re focused on human rights, education, children’s healthcare, animal welfare, or international development, charities should speak multiple languages to expand their reach. 

This is a field where multilingual communities work together in different countries for the good of the public. Translation services are crucial for sharing information, finding support, and helping people in need. 

Serving Non-English Speaking Populations

Translation services are necessary for non-profit organizations that work outside national borders with people who don’t speak English or speak English as a second language. Having information available in local languages facilitates communication and encourages communities to ask for help. 

A non-profit organization that serves international beneficiaries needs a website and printed materials in multiple languages. No matter how useful their help is, if people don’t understand the benefits of collaborating, they won’t be able to work with them. 

By translating and localizing their websites and providing information in local languages, charities are more likely to reach the communities that need help. At the same time, they gain valuable insights into what people are going through.

Translation matters to non-profit organizations because it creates a positive impact. Beneficiaries can easily find them online, understand what they stand for, and how they can help them. Overall, nonprofits are much more likely to fulfill their missions this way. 

If a charity can communicate in the language that its beneficiaries are most comfortable using, they will make them feel understood and supported. They will earn their trust and are more likely to learn first-hand how they can change things for the better and increase their chances of building long-term relationships with local communities.

Building Global Awareness

Another reason translation matters to non-profit organizations is the global awareness that comes with an international audience. Through a localized website, charities can make their cause known to the world and present their goals and mission to people who can help them even if they don’t speak the same language. 

It also brings a significantly higher number of potential donors and volunteers to the table. 

If non-profits adapt their messages to help readers understand why their cause matters, they’re more likely to contribute and make a change. A health charity in the UK, for instance, partnered up with David Beckham and AI company Synthesia to deliver an anti-malaria message in nine different languages. 

In this case, thanks to translation and technology, Beckham seems to be speaking multiple languages, English, Spanish, Kinyarwanda, Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Kiswahili, and Yoruba. This way, the public appeal reached a significantly higher number of potential advocates than if the soccer star had spoken in English only. 

The non-profit organization found a way to capture attention and raise awareness about its cause, confirming that people are more likely to engage with a message in their native tongue. 

Keeping Donors Informed

When charities get support from an international audience, they need to keep people up-to-date on how they spend the funds and how their contributions make a change. So, publishing regular reports in the languages of its donors is necessary to ensure transparency. 

Moreover, it helps maintain an excellent relationship with volunteers, sponsors, and advocates. 

As a charity, the easier it is for supporters to get in touch, the higher the chances of them to keep offering help. So, besides translating content for donors, charities should make sure that users have a positive experience when getting in touch. 

Their websites should be localized so that people don’t see the cultural differences between themselves and the organization. It should be simple for them to donate using local payment systems and, most importantly, disclaimers and privacy policies must be easy to read and understand by website visitors with no legal background.  

If charities require their donors to fill any forms for tax purposes, they should make sure all forms and questionnaires are correct and comply with the local laws. 

Last but not least, if organizations plan on using contact information to communicate with donors and volunteers, they should ask them if they have any language preferences before sending emails in a language they barely know.  

How Translators Help Non-Profit Organizations

Translators help charities and non-profit organizations in more ways than one. Language experts translate and localize legal documents, consent forms, websites, educational content, brochures, and other printed materials. 

Many non-profit organizations focus on improving education in disadvantaged communities, so translators often translate and localize podcasts, video content, apps, interactive platforms, e-learning courses, and other tools that facilitate learning. 

Moreover, language support enables organizations to conduct accurate research in local communities. From multilingual surveys to an analysis of the results in a cultural context, translators can complement research with qualitative data–which is essential for a better understanding of local communities.  

Translation Matters to Non-Profit Organizations

Many international charities and non-profit organizations work with bilinguals to streamline communication between multicultural teams. It’s a smart way to keep costs down (there’s a cost to professional translation services), but it shouldn’t be the only way to connect with sponsors and beneficiaries. 

A non-profit organization should analyze the outcomes that they can achieve by translating their content, as well as the risks of sharing poorly translated information about their activity. 

Ideally, they should find a balance between costs and benefits, and find smart solutions before getting lost in translation. 

For instance, translating only the parts of their content that are relevant for particular international projects. Alternatively, they can collaborate with associations like Translators without Borders, which provides language support for humanitarian projects worldwide.

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