CLEAR Global

Language Matters

Garden City, ID   |


The mission of Translators Without Borders to provide people access to vital knowledge in their language by: Aiding in humanitarian crisis response through translation and interpretation Providing translation and simplification services that are culturally appropriate, accessible and open-source Building language translation capacity at the local level Raising awareness globally of language barriers

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms Aimee Ansari

Main address

9169 W State St #3055

Garden City, ID 83714 USA

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NTEE code info

Disaster Preparedness and Relief Services (M20)

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Nonmonetary Support N.E.C. (W19)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Over half of the world’s population suffers from lack of access to information in their language. Language prevents them from getting vital information and communicating their needs and ideas proactively. In particular, people who are poor, less literate, and speak under-served languages are left without a voice in the development of the places where they live, the future of their families, and in global conversations about important issues such as climate change, women’s rights or health. Women and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected. This should not happen: when the right languages and communications methods are intrinsic to aid and development work, more affected people know where to go, what to do and how to keep themselves safe. When words are understood, people feel empowered, dignified and able to take an active role in their own health, education, safety, and rights.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Crisis Relief - Words of Relief

Words of Relief is the first crisis response translation network intended to improve communications between crisis-affected communities and humanitarian responders before, during and after a crisis, by eliminating the language barriers that can impede vital relief efforts.

Translators without Borders does this by:
- Training translators and interpreters in the languages of crisis-affected countries.
- Translating and openly disseminating critical messages in the appropriate languages before crises occur.
- Building networks of trained translators, often in the diaspora, who can provide immediate assistance.
- Developing freely downloadable multilingual glossary apps to support the consistent translation of key terms.
- Promoting the use and development of machine translation and other language technology tools for emergency response.
- Working with others to collect and disseminate data on the languages crisis-affected people speak and understand, as a basis for communication.
- Providing advice and information on the most effective languages, formats, and channels for communicating with affected people.

Population(s) Served
Emergency responders

TWB development and preparedness programs provide support for non-crisis aid programs worldwide, facilitating effective communication between aid organizations and the populations they serve. The programs focus on developing and ensuring that life-saving information/knowledge is immediately and easily accessible, focusing on health content and standard humanitarian response documentation.

Most of the development translation work of TWB is delivered through Kató, the improved and expanded translation platform, formerly known as the Translators without Borders (TWB) Workspace. Kató is a managed, crowd-sourced platform connecting the TWB community of qualified volunteer translators directly with non-profit partners. This facilitates swift and accurate translation of educational materials, medical information, signage, maps and more, in 250+ language pairs – so vital information can reach those who need it quickly and in a format that they can use. This work allows our non-profit partners to reach more people with more information in local languages in every corner of the world.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Over half of the world’s population does not have access to knowledge and information because it’s not available in their language. This language gap prevents people from accessing information to help lift them out of poverty, get health care, recover from a crisis, or understand their rights. It also contributes to a global communication power imbalance.

TWB is working to flip this power dynamic with Gamayun, the language equality initiative. Gamayun uses advanced language technology to increase language equality and improve two-way communication in marginalized languages. The ultimate goal is to shift control of communication, allowing everyone to share their voice and access information in the language and format they understand.

The initiative first focuses on gathering text and speech data that can make it easier to automate marginalized languages. Using this data, we can build advanced technology-driven solutions for both text- and voice-based communication. This cross-industry effort brings together technologists, native speaker communities, humanitarian organizations, content creators, and donors to fund investment in language data and technology, making it useful and accessible for all.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of organizational partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

TWB’s goal is to break down language barriers that impede people from getting the information they want and need in a language and format that they understand. We focus on changing the communications power dynamic, shifting control to those who speak marginalized languages.

We find solutions at the intersection of language, technology, and the humanitarian and development world. We do this in three ways:

- Building language and communications technology to help people give and get information in a language and format they understand. We build conversational assistants using natural language processing, neural machine translation models, on- and off-line glossaries, and off- to on-line communications and feedback mechanisms.
- Translating, subtitling, transcribing, and providing audio translations of content for our NGO partners. TWB has a community of over 30,000 linguists across the globe who provide these services remotely.
- Working with NGO partners in countries in crisis, such as Nigeria, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bangladesh, providing direct language support, socio-linguistic research on languages and language issues, and training of field staff on translation and interpretation skills. At the end of 2019, we had trained over 2000 aid workers.

It is our volunteers and language specialists who make these solutions possible, funded by sponsors, donors, and partners.

TWB was formally incorporated as a 501(c)3 in the United States in 2011, and since that time, with the support of a community of over 30,000 linguists, translates over 25 million words per year, as part of humanitarian crisis response, and health and education programming. TWB uniquely brings together people who are linguists, technologists and aid workers to bring cutting edge thinking and technology to bear for people who most need information. Our team includes specialists in natural language processing, computational linguistics, user-centered design, communications, humanitarian response, socio-linguistics, and linguists.

To date the TWB community has translated 50 million words and counting. Conservative estimates suggest that at least 25 million people have accessed the 120 medical articles TWB simplified and translated into 100 languages for the Wiki Med Project. TWB is also working hard to respond to COVID-19. Already TWB has translated over 2 million words of COVID-19 content into over 100 languages, is mapping languages and literacy in vulnerable regions, creating a multilingual glossary of emergency health terms and advice in 23 languages, and combating misinformation by monitoring social media in 12+ languages.

The organization has assembled and deployed teams to work directly on language capacity in the field, most recently in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria. In Nigeria, for example, TWB supported 25 organizations to translate over 1,600 products totaling close to 600,000 words, as well as conducted trainings in humanitarian interpretation, translation, and data collection for over 500 people. In 2017, 23% of Rohingya refugees felt they had information on what assistance they could receive; one year later, thanks in part to TWB, 84% felt they knew what assistance was available to them. TWB investigated language barriers in areas of DRC affected by Ebola to support responders to engage more effectively with people at risk. TWB is also leading the humanitarian community in helping people to understand their right to assistance free from sexual exploitation and abuse. We have simplified, translated and field verified the six principles for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse into 100 languages.

TWB has also launched Gamayun, the language equality initiative, an open source platform intended to apply cutting-edge language technologies to improve rapid communications in languages that are currently marginalized. It is a collaborative effort with tech partners, native-speaker communities, NGOs, and content creators and owners, to use text and speech data to automate translation in under-served languages. Using a repeatable, scalable model, TWB and its coalition of partners are piloting three languages to test and refine the process, with the aim of bringing 10 underserved languages online over the next 5 years.


CLEAR Global

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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CLEAR Global

Board of directors
as of 05/24/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr Andrew Bredenkamp


Term: 2015 -

Dermot Carty


Salvatore Giammarresi


Simon Hale


Donna Parrish


Francis Tsang


Doug Kessler

Velocity Partners Ltd

Lesley-Anne Long


Chris Fyfe

Greenpeace International

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes