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. Thomas L Dugue translated the course into Haitian Creole and played his part in spreading free learning that has helped save lives.
Thomas, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Thomas Lamarre Dugue. I am Haitian and I live in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haïti. I am married and I have three children. I’m a computer specialist and a network security expert. From 2002 to 2010, I worked for a medical research organisation in my country as a Data Manager and a Quality Assurance and Quality Control officer on research studies on HIV/AIDS. Currently, I am the Technology Director at a Christian school in Haïti. Beside this, I also provide technology support both on site and remotely to various clients.
How did you learn that Alison was looking for translators for its coronavirus course?
In February 2020, a few weeks after I successfully passed the free coronavirus course, I received an email from Alison looking for volunteers to translate the course into different languages, so I decided to volunteer.
What was your experience of Alison before volunteering to translate? Had you studied with Alison before?
I’ve studied courses with Alison since 2010, among them, the coronavirus course.
Why did you offer to translate our coronavirus course?
I am a Christian and I know that the Bible says in Philippians 2:4 “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” This is what Alison has done. If I could learn a lot about COVID-19 from Alison for free, it is because someone else made it available in English. This has inspired me to help to make this course available in Haitian Creole for my fellow citizens since few speak English.
Why is it important that everyone has access to important information on coronavirus?
This is a new pandemic virus and, as time has showed us, no one has a clear and exact answer to it. So the more we know about the evolution of the virus, the more we can protect others and ourselves.
Tell us a little about your method when translating.
My primary languages are both Haitian Creole and French. Because I learned English and practice it almost every day due to my work environment, it was quite easy for me to just translate from English to Creole, Google Translate the English version to French and then practice a sort of back translation by comparing the French version with my translated Creole version.
Why is free learning so important and why is it important to translate it into many languages?
I would say that, whether it is free or paid, learning is important since what you know today may change tomorrow. One needs to be in the loop. In my country in particular, a lot of people would learn a lot of things but nearly 99% of the time, money is a barrier. It happened to me, so I know how valuable it is to acquire knowledge when you are broke but willing to change your situation.
Have you been learning through Alison during the pandemic? How has the lockdown been for you?
Yes, since the beginning in February 2020. The lockdown was, and is still, challenging. In Haïti, as of mid June, we are still in lockdown mode. But with the help of technology, I still can do a lot while remaining at home.
What would you say to people who might be interested in translating for Alison?
We need a better world. Everyone can positively contribute to help make things easier for needy people and for anyone else too. While we cannot share all our tangible belongings with everyone, we can share our knowledge with all.
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.