Finding the Right Words to Help Rohingya Refugees

The nonprofit Translators Without Borders, in partnership with UNICEF and Oxfam, developed an online glossary resource for aid workers working in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. The mobile phone app includes terms and translations into the five languages spoken in the camps – English, Bangla, Rohingya, Chittagonian, and Burmese.

In this photo from Translators Without Borders, aid workers receive training on the Rohingya glossary.

Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees now live in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where Chittagonian is the local dialect. While Chittagonian is similar to the Rohingya language, enough differences exist to cause potential misunderstandings. Such misunderstandings can particularly be an issue in healthcare.

Most of the phrases in the glossary focus on water, sanitation and hygiene. As the glossary is refined, the next edition will include terms about gender-based violence.

Read more about Translators Without Borders and their work here.

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