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Transparency 2.0
May 19, 2009 - By: - In: In the News / Awards - Comments Off on Transparency 2.0

Critics say that the World Bank translation policy obscures public transparency of bank policy. Even though the World Bank Translation Framework is one of the largest and most sophisticated translation efforts on the planet, it is still not enough.

The Bank Information Center, in a meeting with the World Bank on disclosure policy, argued that lack of translation blocked the view of Bank activities for non-English speakers.

…access to information in-country is often blocked by language barriers. When addressing the World Bank panel on Saturday, one Mexican colleague insisted that “it is inexcusable to claim that the cost of translation is the problem when the World Bank is loaning millions per project!” This sentiment was further underscored by a civil society colleague working on the Middle East and North Africa when she exclaimed that “the right to know is only available to those who speak English!

So English-only lacks transparency. That’s no surprise, if you think about it. But if you live in an English-only world (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), you don’t think about it. Because everything that is not English is not transparent. “Chimpun kampun” as the Japanese say, “It’s all Greek to me.”

But there’s that insistent knocking on the door to the English-only salon, and some disgruntled guy standing out in the cold, asking you in a language you don’t speak, just what the hell is going on.

So I like this idea of translation as the new transparency. To be transparent means you have to speak in a language that your audience will understand. Wow. Radical. Call it 2.0. Call 1-800-Translate!

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