We recently received an enquiry about translating a document for a charity. We love helping NGOs and charities whenever we can. Asian Languages are our speciality and we like to give back to charities and NGOs

This was to translate one of their crucial policies into Burmese  – so not your usual standard EU/mainstream Asian language enquiry. We have not translated into Burmese previously but knew where to locate competent professionals to complete the task for us.

The issue we faced was that they had redacted a lot of the text and needed to be sure that we would only use legitimate routes to facilitate this translation. After some consideration and studying the UK Government’s advice on Myanmar we found that two of its four provinces have ‘Advise against all travel’ advisories in place and only one appears safe to travel in.

Obviously we need to take the political and social situation into account when handling such an assignment. The client was very keen that their document was treated as highly confidential. Having checked our list of translators we opted to contact only linguists who were resident outside of Myanmar. It was disheartening to do this but we felt that we had no choice as we were uncertain of the conditions in which linguists operated within Myanmar.

It is a tricky balancing act between supporting local people who require outside income and support and ensuring that the client is treated correctly.