Thursday, January 21, 2010


You’ve probably been watching the round-the-clock drama of disaster and rescue on the TV reports of the Haiti catastrophe. Apart from the media, crowdsourcing has now come into its own as a crisis news source and broadcaster. The Ushahidi website, for example, collects messages from mobile phones. I saw a report on CNN about a group based at Tufts University in the USA whose spokesman said they have access to thousands of volunteer translators of Haitian Creole for translating such messages from and to Haiti. This is an instance of where suddenness, urgency, scale and an unusual language combination make NT the only possible solution.

Meanwhile the French and Italian Department at the University of Pittsburgh has received more than 100 replies to an email asking for volunteer interpreters to assist with orphans arriving in Pittsburgh from Haiti. The address is

And the American Red Cross is recruiting a few Creole and French translators and interpreters for its Washington DC headquarters and the hospital ship USNS Comfort. But these last are temporary positions for Professional Expert Translators with at least three years experience. Address:

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