Translators without Borders (TWB), the US-based charity that uses language to increase access to knowledge, released the findings and results of the Impact Study on Ebola Information, ‘Does Translated Health-Related Information Lead to Higher Comprehension? A Study of Rural and Urban Kenyans.’ The results of this study demonstrate just how important it is to have crucial healthcare information widely available in the local language.
The Impact Study on Ebola Information was commissioned as part of TWB’s Words of Relief crisis program in Kenya. TWB’s Words of Relief is the first translation crisis relief network intended to improve communications with communities when crisis response aid workers and affected populations do not speak the same language. Words of Relief is supported by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, a program managed by ELRHA (Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance). The objective of the study was designed to examine the level of comprehension of health-related information when presented in English and then the same information provided in Swahili.
197 Kenyans in urban and rural areas who spoke Swahili plus some English, were surveyed on what they knew about Ebola. Participants were asked questions about language competence and preferences and some pre-task questions on their knowledge of Ebola – only eight per cent of participants answered basic questions on the disease correctly. Participants were then given an English-language information poster on Ebola prevention and symptoms and the correct answers to questions rose to 16 percent. But when given this same poster in Swahili, respondents got 92 percent of the questions correct. The information was in the form of a simple poster created and translated by TWB and used throughout West Africa after the disease had fully taken root.
Click here for full study.