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Celebrating Cross-Cultural Collaboration

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages United Nations campaign poster. "Indigenous languages provide a unique understanding of the world."
The UN designated 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages to celebrate cultural diversity and support preservation of #Indigenouslanguages around the globe.
Local staff and translator communicate Senegelese smallholder.
Partnering with local translators helps us to effectively communicate with smallholders in Senegal.

In the nearly four decades since our founding, Bountifield tools have been used in more than 50 countries around the world, spanning four continents. With a wide global reach, cross-cultural collaboration is a necessary aspect of our work as we partner with people from various backgrounds, speaking a variety of different languages. In order to implement our programs and services in any given community, we depend on partnerships with local staff and translators to effectively communicate while cultivating a deeper cultural understanding and connection that is both enriching and essential. Without translators, we would not be able to reach people with tools and services that sufficiently and sustainably meet their needs.

Since 2017, the United Nations has recognized September 30 as International Translation Day, recognizing the “role of language professionals in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development.” This year, the UN is paying special tribute to translation and indigenous languages as part of the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Worldwide, there are 7,000 languages spoken and 5,000 different indigenous cultures. For any given culture, language represents not only a form of communication between humans, but also represents cultural preservation, narratives and perspectives that illustrate the vast diversity and cultural history of humanity.

Conversation with food-based entrepreneur in Senegal
In addition to language translation, multilingual professionals guide us in cultivating deeper cultural understanding of the people with whom we work.

Multilingual language professionals are incredibly important to global development and for achieving the UN 2030 development agenda around the world.  Translators help communicate ideas and information necessary for cross-cultural collaboration. They also promote compassion for cultural differences by providing context and comprehension for aspects often lost in literal translation.

Bountifield works with people who speak a variety of different languages ranging from widely spoken French, Spanish and Portuguese, to local native and indigenous languages such as Wolof in Senegal, Chichewa in Malawi and Makua in Mozambique. Sometimes, we rely on translators and local staff to communicate in three or four languages in a single country. Mozambique has a vast linguistic diversity with over 43 languages spoken throughout the country. In Tanzania, the official language is Swahili with most of the country’s population fluent in their mother tongue and one other language, often Kiswahili. Wolof is the first or second language of approximately 80 percent of the population of Senegal, with only about 15-20 percent of men and women fluent in French which is recognized as the country’s official language.

Behind-the-scenes of recent marketing video shoot on location in Senegal with local translator and Minneapolis-based videographer.
Interpreters are vital for us to learn from people who have been impacted by our tools and services and understand how we can be most effective with our programs.

Indeed, translators and interpreters are indispensable to the work that we do at Bountifield and we rely on our multilingual partners in order to communicate with the people we work to reach with our tools and programs. We are thrilled today to celebrate the multilingual professionals with whom we partner and recognize that without them, we cannot hope to end poverty and hunger around the globe.