Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More on ebola and health information in African languages

Quick follow-up on last week's post on Ebola and health information in African languages, to share some more information about initiatives on ebola education and reporting in African languages.

Following tweets on the previous post, there was additional information via Twitter on some videos in Nigerian languages:

The Nigerian language videos (YouTube) that I'm aware of so far are as follows (would appreciate more links from those who have them):
Also from Nigeria, there is an official poster in Igbo - Nje Ọrịa Ebola - which since it is from the Nigerian government, may also be in other languages like Hausa and Yoruba.
There is a Senegalese video (also on YouTube) about ebola in Wolof, with some written French. (An August 29 newscast in Wolof on ebola in Senegal is also on YouTube.)

A GooglePlay app "About Ebola" is available in English, Jola (Diola in French spelling), Krio, Liberian English, and Wolof.

There appears to be significant information on ebola in Fula, notably on, including a recent long article "Ebola Hol no haɓtortee?" (ebola, how can it be fought/countered?). Peeral Media has a short piece in Fula on Facebook, with a parallel English version. A 5-minute audio "Info sur Ebola en Pulaar/Fulfulde" is available on YouTube (accompanied by one graphic). Another example is a story on Voice of Nigeria about the Nigerian Hajj Commission's screening of pilgrims going to Mecca: "Hukuuma hijju Najeeriya wiɗitay hijooɓe Najeeriya."

In Guinea, Studio Hirondelle in collaboration with the rural radio network has produced radio programs on ebola in Fula (Peulh in French; the endonym in Guinea is Pular) and Malinké (a Manding language for which the endonym is Maninka or Maninkakan).

WHO and Athinkra

Athinkra LLC is coordinating translations of a FAQ on ebola provided by the World Health Organization (WHO). Languages on its list so far include N'Ko (an alphabet for Manding), Vai (in its own script and Latin alphabet), and Fula (in the new Adlam script - more on the latter in another post). (Thanks to Coleman Donaldson for calling my attention to this.)

Rubric, Wikimedia ZA, and WikiProject Medicine

Further afield, there is a collaboration in South Africa among Rubric (a languages services company), Wikimedia ZA, and WikiProject Medicine (which has a Translation Task Force/Project) to translate ebola health info on Wikipedia into the official languages of that country.

Summary and thoughts
The above is an eclectic sampling of initiatives and reporting on ebola in some African languages. Much of this is happening on country levels or by individual or small group initiatives. This post helps fill out blank spots in the picture as portrayed in the previous posting, but it is far from complete.

At this point it would seem very useful to have a way of monitoring such efforts and products with an eye to facilitating communication and sharing among them (particularly important, I'd argue, for cross-border and closely-related languages), reviewing material for accuracy, and building a data bank of medical translations in African languages about ebola and related public health topics.


Don said...

The back story on the "About Ebola" app was published on the Code Innovation site on 17 April 2014 by Elie Calhoun. Evidently the designers tried to get this app in the iTunes store also, but without luck.

A follow-up by Nathanial Calhoun was published on the same site on 6 August under the title "Google doesn’t really care about African language content." This raises some larger issues about support for information in African languages on ebola, and for localization in African languages generally, that I'd like to come back to.

Dave Pearson said...

A workshop to translate Ebola health information was held in Southern Senegal in October 2014. The first material to be translated was a poster into four languages: Bandial, Gusilay, Jola Fonyi and Manjaku.

Don said...

Thanks Dave. This is helpful and will fit in a forthcoming post on ebola information in Senegalese languages. In the meantime, I just tweeted the link.