The Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) has a diverse membership spread across 15 countries in the Asia and Pacific region and expanding. The main challenge we face is to how to communicate with each other as many of our members do not speak English at all but can only read and write in their native language. NAPP is coming out with quarterly newsletter updates for our members in twelve (12) languages. The translations are expensive but we are somehow managing them to reach out to one and all in the language they understand. Apart from the high cost of translation another challenge is that many of our member’s especially small holder farmer organizations are not equipped to handle email communications, they are not computer savvy. Also when our members meet they cannot understand what other is saying as they do not know the language specially Vietnamese, Russian and Chinese speaking members who are not comfortable with English, each time we have to hire translators incurring huge costs.
Potential Technological SolutionsEdit
1. Free open source accurate software to eliminate the need for hiring the translator for newsletters and other written material.
Certain on-line translation services, Google Translate which already covers a number of our target languages, provide facility to translate phrases and sentences. This typically however requires a personal computer or mobile device that is able to interface with the provider’s website. A useful app would be one that could facilitate access to the translation service independent of device (laptop, tablet, or smart phone) to launch and receive translations. The app would need a feedback or translation correction tool which should be intelligent (i.e., learn to prefer certain vocabulary for the given context). Ability to access multiple providers to ensure full coverage of language scope would be a plus.
2. Maybe free or cost effective mass mobile phone message (mass - sms) facilities to alert our members of important communications that could be sent to their email inbox or short messages.
3. Live translator devices ie device which can translate English to other languages and vice versa simultaneously as the other speak. The listener can hear from the headphone.
· Simultanous translation services are very expensive and often require bespoke infrastructure and require a human translator.
· Ideally the app would combine voice recognition, translation, and broadcating of the translation to the selected audience.
· Alternatively, if voice recognition and “no-touch” translation cannot be achieved, the app would concentrate on the broadcast and reception portion of the process whereby the human translator could speak into their mobile device using the app and the audience could individually listen to the translation over their mobile device headphones via the app (reception area would have at a minimum a dial to choose languages of translation.
Technical, Sociological or Contextual ConsiderationsEdit
Our Farmer and worker members are not technologically proficient so easy to use software or device would be appreciated.
In written translations which are mostly word to word the meaning of the sentence is sometimes lost as we operate in the context of Fairtrade and agriculture mostly.
Most Farmer or Worker members have limited access to information technology devices. The target audience will not have access to a personal computer or similar device. However, 2G GSM mobile phones are prevalent. A typical device in use is the Nokia 105 or similar. The Nokia has a TFT 1.4 inch screen with 128x128-pixel resolution. Internal memory is 8MB with 384KB RAM. The technological challenge here is that providing apps to this community of “consumers” will require “hacking”. The Nokia 105, for example, is a no-frills device was not designed or meant to connect with a moblie store in order to load additional games or apps.
Organisation/Body who will implement the solution:Edit
Fairtrade International is a global organization which works to secure a better deal for farmers and workers.
The Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) is a producer network which represents the interests and voice of the Fairtrade farmers and workers of Asia in Fairtrade International. NAPP along with other producer networks in Africa and Latin America owns half the Fairtrade system, the other half being owned by marketing organizations in the global north. http://www.fairtradenap.net/