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New Research Study to Explore Connection between Translation and Information Disparities in Africa

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(BOSTON and PARIS) – Information is power. The lack of information can leave people powerless. There are more than 2,000 languages spoken in Africa, but the majority of information is not available to people unless they speak one of the world’s few mega-languages, such as English, French, or Arabic. Now, a new study by independent market research Common Sense Advisory for Translators without Borders will explore the link between the availability of translated content and social issues that stem from lack of access to information, such as health disparities and political inclusion.

“Our firm continually publishes research about the importance of translation in business settings,” explains Tahar Bouhafs, CEO of Common Sense Advisory. “But translation also serves a much broader purpose, enabling people to obtain access to basic information that can help them enjoy greater social and political participation and ultimately live healthier and more fulfilling lives,” comments Bouhafs, a native of Northern Africa.

“We see a need in Africa to find out more about the impact translation has on individuals’ ability to take control of their own health and participate in political processes,” says Lori Thicke, co-founder of Translators without Borders. “Exploring this connection in greater depth will enable us to have a better understanding of the true scope of the services our volunteer translators provide, and, in turn, give people who speak languages such as Amharic, Igbo, and Somali access to more information.”

The study is made possible through an in-kind donation from Common Sense Advisory to Translators without Borders. The resulting report will include detailed information about the state of translation for African languages, including information about employment opportunities for translators, training and education, challenges to providing translation, and translators’ views on how their work affects the lives of their community members. The report will be published online by Common Sense Advisory, and will be distributed free of charge.

For more information about the survey, visit

About Common Sense Advisory

Common Sense Advisory is an independent market research company helping companies profitably grow their international businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers. Its focus is on assisting its clients to operationalize, benchmark, optimize, and innovate industry best practices in translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization. For more information, visit: or

About Translators without Borders

The mission of Translators without Borders (and its sister organization in in France, Traducteurs sans Frontières) is to translate knowledge for humanity. Translators without Borders has met that mission through quality humanitarian translations provided by a community of trained translators to vetted NGOs who focus on health, nutrition and education. On average, Translators without Borders volunteers translate millions of words per year, focusing on three types of humanitarian translations: crisis translations needed urgently to inform people in crisis, translations that support an NGO’s operations, and educational translations that directly support people in need. For more information, visit: or


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