Multilingualism allows communication between the different Member States of the United Nations (UN) with different languages and cultures. In promoting tolerance, multilingualism ensures greater participation of all Member States in the work they perform within the Organization, as well as greater effectiveness, better results and greater participation.
To promote the use of the six official languages and to guarantee the full and equitable treatment of all official languages, there are minimum standards for multilingualism of UN websites.
Accordingly, the support of UN Online Volunteers has been key in recent years to ensure the continuous updating of multiple websites linked to different agencies in different languages.
Many organizations request the support of UN Online Volunteers to perform translations. The availability of translated communication materials means that an organization can reach wider audiences, and translating best practices means making global knowledge available to everyone.
UN Online Volunteers help ensure that updating our websites in Spanish and Portuguese is done in a fast and effective manner. This collaboration is essential to spreading the work of UNHCR on a global level." Stefano Zanfardino, a member of the UNHCR Regional Legal Unit (RLU) for Latin America.
In particular, the websites of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Spanish and Portuguese - www.acnur.org and www.acnur.org.br - are constantly updated thanks to UN Online Volunteers, a collaboration that goes back to the year 2009.
In the words of Stefano Zanfardino, a member of the UNHCR Regional Legal Unit (RLU) for Latin America, "UN Online Volunteers help ensure that updating our websites in Spanish and Portuguese is done in a fast and effective manner, through the translation of content and information materials, in particular news and press releases, from English to Spanish, from Portuguese to Spanish and in some cases from English to Portuguese. This collaboration is essential to spreading the work of UNHCR on a global level."
It is important to note that the opportunities published by UNHCR through the UNV Online Volunteering service receive a high level of response from volunteers from different countries, and that all non-selected volunteers who contact the organization receive an individual and personalized response.
In terms of the volunteers who have successfully performed assignments, it is important to note that the organization's appreciation is not limited to the issuance of a certificate of collaboration, but volunteers are also thanked publicly through an explicit mention in the footnote of the translation, and published on www.acnur.org.
According to Sofía Vargas, a member of the UNHCR RLU for Latin America, "it seems important to us to establish a personal relationship with UN Online Volunteers, highlighting the results of their contributions and encouraging them to continue collaborating with the organization on other opportunities, when the quality of the work deserves it."
Thanks to the collaboration between the UNV Online Volunteering service and UNHCR, hundreds of news items have been posted on the Spanish and Portuguese websites www.acnur.org and www.acnur.org.br since 2009. The 1,038 Certificates of collaboration issued by the "UNHCR Regional Legal Unit for Latin America" through the UN Online Volunteering service attest to this successful collaboration model.
These volunteers contribute to the dissemination of current news and information material in Spanish and Portuguese on refugees, victims of forced displacement, stateless persons and other subjects of interest to UNHCR.
As Stefano Zanfardino acknowledges, "collaboration with the UNV Online Volunteering service has been a key component of our public information and awareness raising strategy, bringing important issues closer to hundreds of thousands of people – mostly in Latin America and Spain – through the publication of news on UNHCR websites in Spanish and Portuguese, many of them produced by UNHCR public information officers deployed in field operations in different parts of the world, often in crisis situations."
"All this translates into concrete benefits for those who have fled from war and persecution, either in terms of facilitating their reception and inclusion in host communities, of supporting public policies that recognize their right to a dignified and secure life, or to raise awareness and empathy for groups of people who often suffer marginalization and discrimination," he concludes.
The UNHCR Regional Legal Unit for Latin America wishes to highlight the following volunteers, among the more than 500 who have been supporting us since 2009, for their valuable contribution to the organization: Ana Ledesma Claros; Esperanza Escalona Reyes; Delia Tasso; Jacqueline Cáceres; Jaime Guitart Vilches; Jose Carlos López; Luisa Merchán; María Soledad Conroy; Mauro Javier Tallarico; Miriam Barrio; Sofía Estévez Torres.
Article translated from Spanish by UN Online Volunteer Venita Ramírez.