To help the world combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Alison launched the course Coronavirus – What you need to know. In order to make sure that no one was excluded from accessing possibly life-saving information, Alison committed to translating the course into as many languages as possible. To achieve this ambitious goal, Alison reached out to its community of Learners, seeking volunteers willing to use their language skills to help translate the course and spread important information on coronavirus. Fiza Asif Javed translated the course into Urdu and played her part in spreading free learning that has helped save lives.
Fiza, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Fiza. I am from Pakistan. I hold an MPhil degree in Biochemistry. In my free time, I am a digital learner and a translator. I usually translate from English to my native language, Urdu.
How did you learn that Alison was looking for translators for its coronavirus course?
I had completed the free course, Coronavirus- What you need to know, and I noticed it was open for translation in multiple languages. I volunteered right away. A few days later, I received an invitation email from Alison to translate.
What was your experience of Alison before volunteering to translate? Had you studied with Alison before?
I have been an Alison learner since 2016. I have completed four courses: How to plan your career path, Zika Virus – What You Need To Know, Global Health Initiative: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Awareness and Coronavirus – What you need to know. The coronavirus course content was well-designed for the general public. Alison courses are short, well-structured and informative. All courses are self-paced which means the learner completes them in their own time.
Why did you offer to translate our coronavirus course?
Online translations into my language are mostly not reliable. I saw an opportunity to put my educational background and language skills to good use. So I volunteered to translate. I just enjoy translating, it helps me to express myself.
Why is it important that everyone has access to important information on coronavirus?
Access to free and reliable information is every human’s right. Everyone should have access to coronavirus information. This way they can keep themselves safe and take care of people around them. In this digital era, free learning has become a necessity.
Tell us a little about your method when translating.
Being a native Urdu speaker and having a degree in science played a big role in my translation work. I mostly do my own translations. I don’t rely on machine translations. Urdu is a complex language and has a diverse vocabulary. Machine translations fail to do justice to it. I used different dictionaries for choosing the right vocabulary. I avoided complex words to make my translation easy to understand for learners of all age groups. I took utmost care in translating so that anyone with basic Urdu reading skills can take the course.
Why is free learning so important and why is it important to translate it into many languages?
Free learning is every human’s right and digital resources have made free learning possible. Translating expands free learning, making important information accessible to a wider audience.
Have you been learning through Alison during the pandemic? How has the lockdown been for you?
Yes. In the initial months of the pandemic, my home country wasn’t severely affected. I took Alison’s special coronavirus course. The course kept me informed and well-prepared. Then during the lockdown, I translated the coronavirus course. I have also been involved in various volunteer works. It’s still lockdown here in my country and I have taken up a few more Alison courses.
What would you say to people who might be interested in translating for Alison?
If giving back to society excites you, come aboard to translate with Alison. Lend a hand to make free learning available to a large audience. Every little effort counts.
If you’d like to play your part in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic by helping Alison give people access to the information necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, please get in touch.