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. Mosab Altaher translated the course into Arabic and played his part in spreading free learning that has helped save lives.
Mosab, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I’m a Sudanese doctor working in Saudi Arabia for the last five years as a GP. When the pandemic started, I had just received my Occupational English Test result that will allow me to register for work in western countries. Currently, I am working on moving to the UK or Ireland.
How did you learn that Alison was looking for translators for its coronavirus course?
Because of my work, I have to keep updated on any dangerous diseases and I have been keeping up with this pandemic’s progress since it started. I have been providing orientations and presentations, which led me to check on Alison to see if there were any related courses. I found Coronavirus – What you need to know and, after finishing it, I thought it was an impressive course and that more Arabic-speaking people needed to learn about it. I volunteered and started to translate immediately.
What was your experience of Alison before volunteering to translate? Had you studied with Alison before?
Why did you offer to translate our coronavirus course?
In a situation like that of COVID19, having access to clear and accurate information can be the difference between life and death for some people. Having translated versions of the course is essential to allow people to learn about the coronavirus origin, spread and all related information. Also, I feel that by helping translate this course, I am contributing much better information to people than what is being presented to them through regular or governmental media.
Why is it important that everyone has access to important information on coronavirus?
Ignorance about how to prevent the transmission of this virus can lead to a faster spread that will lead to higher casualties. In the end, those who will be infected most of the time are one’s family members.
Tell us a little about your method when translating.
I used Google Translate on each paragraph and then I would read through it in Arabic and make the necessary corrections as I read it. I found if I put in more text than that, the translation would be wrong. Sometimes the changes were few, and other times it really required me to go through it all to make sure it was accurate.
Why is free learning so important and why is it important to translate it into many languages?
Knowledge is power. Not everyone has access to medical information and, without a doubt, everyone needs to be aware of the disease during a pandemic. Everyone needs to know how to survive, and with these provided translations, they may have a better chance to learn how to fight it in their homes and survive.
Have you been learning through Alison during the pandemic? How has the lockdown been for you?
For me, as far as I remember, my work has never been busier. I have to work more hours and the workload has increased tremendously. As it became clear that the pandemic was spreading faster than anyone had anticipated, my Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board 1 Exam was cancelled due to the lockdown, as a result of the fear of the virus spreading. So not great for me.
What would you say to people who might be interested in translating for Alison?
If you have a good understanding of your language and the skills to translate from English, then your help will be invaluable to make sure that the precise message reaches your people. People learning how to deal with this virus is the much-needed step to defeat this world threat. So help out.
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.