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. Ko Nyi Nyi translated the course into Myanmar and played his part in spreading free learning that has helped save lives.
Nyi, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I am a 29 year old man from Myanmar. I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Law and also have an Engineering Vocational Diploma. I’m a civil engineer working in project management and am currently involved in a government project sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
How did you learn that Alison was looking for translators for its coronavirus course?
Translation is my favourite hobby since my intermediate school days and I regularly get in touch with online learning websites. I was contacted by Alison to translate the coronavirus course from English to my native language, Myanmar.
What was your experience of Alison before volunteering to translate? Had you studied with Alison before?
I had studied with Alison before. Alison is great, with thousands of online courses for free. All the courses are really effective and they are easy to understand. If you have sufficient time to study with Alison, then I trust you will be very qualified in no time.
Why did you offer to translate our coronavirus course?
I took part in this translation project in February, when the spread of coronavirus was increasing but had not yet infected our country, or most parts of Asia. I’m very interested in translation work and also the coronavirus seemed to become more and more of a threat to people’s lives. That’s why I joined the project.
Why is it important that everyone has access to important information on coronavirus?
We have never experienced such a situation before and it is horrible. Due to the development of the internet and social media, misinformation has become a great threat to all of us. Therefore it is vitally important for everyone to have easy access to important information about coronavirus and related matters to avoid and defend against the impact of misinformation.
Tell us a little about your method when translating.
When translating, I use Google Translate for an approximate translation. But Google Translate has many limitations when it comes to my native language, Myanmar, because Myanmar is one of the most difficult languages in the world. But I get a raw translation from it and then I perfect it with my knowledge and by using dictionaries.
Why is free learning so important and why is it important to translate it into many languages?
In recent years, network development has massively increased in many countries but there are still many things that are yet to be accommodated, such as online billing systems. This means that we cannot pay for, and so cannot access, paid courses from where we are. But with free courses, it’s easy for everyone to take part and participate as long as there’s a network connection. Free learning is so important because it covers almost everyone. It’s also very important to translate courses into many languages. English is a global language but courses will be more effective, and more capable of reaching people around the globe, if they are translated into their native languages. Here in Myanmar, we are mostly poor in English and so to be more effective, translating courses into Myanmar is necessary, so that everyone globally can participate in learning.
Have you been learning through Alison during the pandemic? How has the lockdown been for you?
Yes, I’ve learned about coronavirus by participating in the translation project. During the lockdown, I was at work as our project is still running under the guidance of the government. So lockdown hasn’t meant anything to me, just regularity.
What would you say to people who might be interested in translating for Alison?
For those who are interested in translation, my opinion is that there are thousands of quality free learning courses out there and translating them into our native languages is very important, not only to allow others to be able to learn, but also for ourselves to promote our knowledge and abilities as translators.
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.