Lincoln University | MAP
Launched in 2018, Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) is a collaborative four-year project between multiple universities, cultural artists, civil society organisations and young people across the world. Through a variety of interdisciplinary arts-based practices, it provides a comparative approach to peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal.
MAP strives to bring local, underrepresented voices to the forefront, especially those of young people who are often obscured in the international debate on peacebuilding in conflict-affected societies. Providing training and skill-building in music, dance and drama, integrated with support for mental health, the project has already evidenced a greater degree of youth and community empowerment amongst its participants.
MAP presented an exciting brief: their work unites numerous disciplines, individuals with a diversity of backgrounds, and multiple languages. Linguistically speaking, its initial focus was to enable communication between English and Kinyarwanda speakers, as the project began in Rwamagana, the capital of Rwanda’s Eastern Province. Their work with translators and interpreters using simultaneous translation was effective, but they didn’t have a system in place which could facilitate more international interaction.
After expanding to interact with Kyrgyz, Kinyarwanda, Indonesian and Nepali speakers (to name a few), MAP was looking for software that could help them work with local interpreters, prepare for workshops, run focus groups and engage with local communities. The administrative demands of this international growth also had to be taken into account – logistics needed to be streamlined, fast and clear.
MAP was no longer seeking help with straightforward translation: they needed facilities like multi-language Zoom call translation to bridge communications across their teams. The software needed to be flexible and diverse to connect people across countries and languages which may not otherwise interact much.
To solve the immediate needs of MAP, TextUnited deployed rapid file-based machine translation to and from a variety of language pairs, further enabling the global nature of the MAP team and project. They also required website translation into multiple target languages so made good use of the TextUnited CMS Website Crawler. This allowed them to quickly and easily scan their existing source website content and machine translating it. After this, the MAP team were able to adjust, correct and update any of the machine translations themselves with the Online Editor.
MAP is already benefiting from a quicker, less obtrusive route to accessing translations. Their project flow has been improved, as it’s easier to swiftly gauge what information an uploaded Word document or PDF contains. Creating new material like guidance notes for grant applications, budget templates, application forms, conference presentations, and agendas for webinars is also more straightforward.
Of course in certain scenarios, a human translation remains the preferable option, but TextUnited’s software has helped to identify where this is necessary, and removed the need for slower, extraneous translations
The integration has provided MAP with the tools to further their aim to help bridge the gap between the Global North and Global South. For instance, they are now better able to access and interact with knowledge published in research in journals not originally in English.
More broadly, their work focuses on engaging with local knowledge that might typically get overlooked – bringing the voice of youth, especially from rural areas, into the foreground. Those affected by genocide, forced migration, and other traumatic international events are crucial to include in this discussion. The communication of people with visible and hidden disabilities is also prioritised by MAP: especially when some may be dealing with stigma or marginalisation in their home country.
The research, evaluation and collaboration enabling these goals are supported by a streamlined, intelligent approach to translation, allowing understanding across numerous unusual language pairings.
MAP wants to enhance how they reach different areas of society via their own respective languages. Accuracy in translation is always highly important, especially when interacting with those at the base of the pyramid. It’s crucial to avoid making assumptions about their views and experiences, and further strengthen MAP’s aim to empower unheard voices.
This opens the door for the potential future use of TextUnited’s multilingual feedback tool; Kumul. Specifically designed to enable supply-chain transparency and capture feedback at source, translating without dilution and free from agenda.
Likewise, whereas the original workflow built for MAP was one reliant upon file-based translation at speed – the next step would be to further ingratiate them into the TextUnited portal itself. Allowing them to begin building a Translation Memory that not only lowers their initial MT costs, but also helps form a company dictionary that can encompass the broad spectrum of terms and languages with which they operate. From academic terms, to the less formal, colloquial and geo-specific language young people/those on calls may be using in their communications.
Mobile Arts for Peace is a four-year international, multi-disciplinary project which provides a comparative approach on the use of interdisciplinary arts-based practices for peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. It is a collaborative project between universities, cultural artists, civil society organisations and young people across the world.
We are now in Strand One of the MAP project which involves scoping visits, literature reviews, community mapping and training of adult and child/youth facilitators in each of the four countries. Strand Two of the project will distribute a range of grants for child/youth and adult MAP trainers to work alongside CSOs to address local issues including: child rights-based decision-making; child protection and peacebuilding.