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MediLingua CEO helps apply translation expertise to combat Ebola

news-releasesMediLingua Medical Translations B.V.
October 25th 2014

Leiden, Netherlands: – A Dutch translation specialist working to combat Ebola in West Africa says knowledge and understanding are the keys to defeating the virus that has so far claimed some 7,000 victims.

Simon Andriesen, founder and CEO of the Dutch-based medical translation and writing specialists MediLingua, is working with the not-for-profit organization Translators Without Borders (TWB) in Africa.

Andriesen, who is a board member of TWB, has joined a team that has redeployed from healthcare in Kenya to join the emergency response to Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Ebola information posters

The TWB team has been working to prepare leaflets and posters in a range of languages spoken in Africa, including Hausa, Krioand Swahili, to help people understand how to protect themselves from the virus.

“In an area with 1 doctor for every 75,000 persons, health information is life-saving, especially during this crisis. Ebola kills, for sure, but people also die for lack of health information in a language they can understand. So far, the fight against Ebola has been hampered by ignorance, misunderstanding and rumor,” says Andriesen.

“The key things here are to build trust among threatened populations that the authorities really are trying to help them and that the advice they’re getting from the medical teams can save lives,” he added.

Translation network

“At Translators Without Borders, we have been working very hard to bridge the gaps by providing people with information they can trust and understand in their native language,” said Andriesen.

He has been working closely with TWB founder and president, Lori Thicke, to create a new network of medical experts and native speaking translators in many parts of Africa, stand-by to produce local-language crisis intervention messages when Ebola strikes in their part of the world.

Interviewed recently on BBC World Service radio, Ms. Thicke said providing effective written information in native languages could help compensate for chronic lack of doctors and nurses on the ground.

The interview with Lori Thicke is available at:

Click here to see an example of one of the translated Ebola posters.

About Translators Without Borders

Traducteurs sans Frontières (TSF) was founded in 1993 by Lori Thicke and Ros Smith-Thomas to link the world’s translators to vetted NGOs that focus on health, nutrition and education.

TSF’s American sister non-profit organization, Translators without Borders (TWB), is also a volunteer organization run by an eight-strong board of directors, which assists in translating more than two million words per year for NGOs such as Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), Médecins du Monde, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam US and Handicap International.

The organization’s mission is to increase access to knowledge through humanitarian translations. By developing an open digital platform and establishing organizational structure, Translators Without Borders hopes to increase that number to 10 million words or more every year.

More information at:

About MediLingua

MediLingua Medical Translations B.V. is a company based in Leiden, Netherlands, that specializes in medical and healthcare translations from and into all European languages as well as several non-European languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Swahili and many others.

The company has over 30 years of translation business expertise and translation teams based in over 40 target language countries. The teams combine medical and linguistic skills to offer specialist services to pharmaceutical and life sciences organizations that include translation and generation of compliant registration dossiers for medicines, packaging texts, patient information, text books and scientific publications. MediLingua also offers source text editing, expert review, in-country validation, cognitive debriefing, use testing, back translation and readability testing services.

More information at:

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