The following post was kindly prepared by Grace Tang, global coordinator at Translators without Borders. It reflects upon TwB’s recent experiences providing local language Ebola content in West Africa. Indigo has supported this work with a grant and we were particularly keen to learn about TwB’s experiences working across multiple countries and languages and with a myriad of humanitarian response agencies…
The recent Ebola outbreak that killed more than 10,000 people has highlighted the importance of communicating with communities in the right language. Many agree that more sensitisation activities would have made a difference. As Ebola Emergency Coordinator for Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders in Guinea argued, “in the first nine months, if people had been given proper messages, all this could have been prevented.”
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It is easy to assume that eternal truth is automatically translatable in a changing world. I just heard of a couple who went to the funeral of a friend. Apparently the preacher hammered away at the congregation for no less than 40 minutes with a message where he thought they ought to be! The encounter drew me into the story of the late SAMUEL SHOEMAKER, the spiritual father of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Shoemaker identified “The Twelve Steps” arguing that anyone, with group support, could discover the power of God and recover from any unimaginable problem. Working alongside the poor in the inner cities of New York and Pittsburgh, he began with the context and listened. His poem “I STAND BY THE DOOR” presents practical insights into communicating the works and words of Jesus in a world overcrowded with differences of outlook and circumstance.
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