In a 2006 Gallup asked a random sample of Americans, “What is the most important challenge facing the United States today?” The most popular responses included the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy, unemployment, immigration, health care, education, the energy crisis, and poverty and homelessness. In all of these responses, it’s interesting to think about how certified translators were needed, how they were used to addressing these problems and develop solutions.
But translation services workers aren’t only hired to work on solving domestic social problems. Translators, particularly French and Portuguese translators are commonly hired to help NGO’s solve even more complex problems in Africa. In 1990 the United Nations Development Program published its first annual Human Development Report, which measured the well-being of populations around the world according to a “human development index.” The human development index assesses three aspects of human growth: life expectancy; intelligence; and standard of living. The most recent report concluded that unless global action is taken right away, the world will gradually expeience mass poverty, division based on heavy inequalities, and threaten from common insecurities. Throughout the world, translation services are breaking down communication barriers, transmitting the message to audiences and have been instrumental in helping to develop proactive solutions.
Problems related to poverty and malnutrition, insufficient education, AIDS, substandard medical treatment, civil war, oppression of ethnic and religious groups, environmental destruction, and other social issues are international concerns. Such problems present both a threat and a challenge to our national and global security. Translators working with various NGO’s help facilitate increased awareness and understanding of these problematic social conditions throughout the world and are working to develop solutions.