Designing and Customising BRIDGE Workshops

August 18, 2009

Focus On: Translation

In many cases, the customisation process not only involves adapting the original materials to the program’s objectives but also translating them into a local language. In doing so, a crucial decision must be taken as to whether the materials are translated before or after customisation. Customisation first OR translation first: Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, the decision will derive from the constraints of a particular context. In turn the decision for one or the other of these approaches will have implications for a number of key elements. It may also be important to differentiate between large linguistic groups that cover different countries and could be integrated through a regional approach and smaller linguistic groups/ languages that are limited to one country (or even a regional language within a country). Key elements to consider: Limited project vs. long term program – time and cost constraints/implications: Whether the translation is envisaged within a limited project or workshop or within a long term program will have a major impact on the decision to be made. Translating the whole of BRIDGE is a lengthy and costly endeavour. Obviously, it would not make sense to undertake such a huge task or even integrally translate a whole module for a ‘stand alone’ workshop. However, in the perspective of long term program targeting various audiences who share a same language, it can be more efficient and, in the long run, less expensive to translate the main resources of BRIDGE prior to doing the customisation. As much time and funds as it takes at the start, would be saved at the following stages of the program. Then this would most likely require an integrated effort from different partners who share common long term objectives. For a smaller project with limited time and budget customisation should definitely occur before translation. Material consistency, quality and relevance: A crucial issue with translation is ensuring consistency, quality and relevance of the material. Critical decisions often have to be taken to accurately translate a number of technical terms in a meaningful and relevant way for the intended audience. These can include ‘inventing’ or ‘creating’ a terminology in languages in which certain concepts are unknown (cf. Tetum/Arabic). In other contexts, there is a need to choose the relevant equivalent terms that most often cannot be done through literal translation. Translated material should always be thoroughly reviewed by the facilitation team. Material availability: one of the obstacles to the use of BRIDGE in some non-English speaking countries is linked to the fact that the material is not available in the local language, it limits the access and understanding of local stakeholders and decision-makers to what BRIDGE is and how it can meet their needs. In addition, clients may be reluctant to proceed with BRIDGE if they are required to take the burden of the translation prior to any implementation. Having a minimum of resources readily available in the local language can help remove this obstacle. This minimum can build up through ensuring collection, archiving and access to all translated resources. Ownership and sustainability: having available material already translated in a qualitative way, allows concentration on the customisation process with the direct and full participation of the local partners. It is more inclusive for non-English speakers and helps them gaining ownership of the program and ensures greater sustainability through it. If local partners have bi-lingual skills they should be involved in both the customisation and the translation processes. Whatever approach is chosen, it is crucial to build on any translation effort and avoid duplication through keeping track of the existing/on-going translation efforts (know what is available, ensure access to them); make room for improvement through feedback and update. It is also important to keep in mind the need of customising the translation i.e. adapt the level of language and the terminology to the specific audience (cater for the diversity within a same linguistic group). Tools Coordination Team Depending on the size of the materials to be translated and the number of people – translators, editors, proof readers, and designers – involved in the process, a coordination team led by a coordinator might be crucial to insure the translation process is on track. The role of the coordination team ranges from providing guidelines for the translation process, supervising translation and providing prompt answers to emerging requests during the process. The coordination team should also make sure that translators, editors, proof readers and designers are delivering copy according to an agreed time line. Preferably, an experienced BRIDGE facilitator should be part of the coordination team. This will help give better links with the overall BRIDGE program, as well as provide an insight to issues related to the nature of BRIDGE materials and methodology. Glossary Glossaries are key tools for translation. In addition to providing terminology, they help explain technical terms, making it easier to find equivalent in the target language. Early in the process, implementers should plan for the production of a glossary before any translation takes place. The rationale behind this can be explained by the fact that a good glossary helps achieve the following: Translation consistency: especially if translation involves more than one translator geographically spread over different dialectical areas Better understanding of technical terms in the original language which means better understanding of the subject materials In countries with new or little election practice, glossaries could help promote technical election knowledge as well as experience sharing Equally important is the process adopted to produce the glossary. In order to guarantee a certain level of accuracy, as well as achieving a broad acceptance among various stakeholders, a broad spectrum of people/expertise should be involved in producing the glossary. This should include BRIDGE facilitators, translators, linguists, election and legal experts. This combination of expertise is crucial to build support among different stakeholders who will be part of the BRIDGE program. Finding an equal term for many BRIDGE and electoral terms in some other languages might not be an easy job. Local culture and experience may have a major impact on how terms are translated. The translation should take diversity into account by reflecting the existing local election terminology as used in constitutional and legal texts. Where terms are completely new and not used in the target language, translators should focus on the meaning rather than the literal translation. In addition to a glossary of electoral terms, a BRIDGE terms glossary might be required. The translation of such a glossary should benefit local training glossaries and training manuals. Other key documents 8.9 Annex 9: Key Documents for Translation outlines a recommended translation order for BRIDGE documents, beginning with useful reference documents (outlines, summaries. guidelines) before translation of the curriculum itself. Translation guidelines Check if a previous translation exists! Seek permission for the intended translation. ê See Error! Reference source not found. ??? Use glossaries if existing (develop one if there is none; feeding back different linguistic/ terminology usage into existing glossaries). Use relevant/meaningful terminology (beware of literal translations; absolutely avoid any automated translation!): this requires thorough review by the facilitation team as a minimum; ideally the translation should involve local specialists in the relevant topics covered. As much as possible select translators with appropriate background and experience: these may sometimes be difficult to find, it is important to consider strategies to ensure their availability and to invest in building up their capacities (amongst other things by providing exposure to BRIDGE). At a minimum, the translator(s) should receive a proper briefing on the specificities of their task and what is expected from them as well as some guidance or tools (when available) to help them carry it out. They have to be given appropriate time to carry out their task. Their work should always be reviewed by the facilitation team. If the necessary language skills are not available within the facilitation team per se, it is important to ensure that a quality review takes place by specialists. It is also important that feedback be sought during the workshop from the participants and/or the EMB to adjust and improve the translation along the way. Give feedback on translation issues so consistency and quality can improve; feedback any translated material (possibly with comments) to the BRIDGE Office or coordination team. Budget It is important to achieve a good return for your budget. The translation of material whilst vitally important will increase your overall costs. There are a number of budget items you may need to take into account: translation of documents and resources possible coordination fees formatting and layout editing and proof reading There are a number of ways to calculate payment for translation. These can include: a straight word count, payment per word page count, usually 250 words per page package price, an agreed payment for complete translation job daily rate Keep in mind local rates and international rates may change your costs markedly. Other considerations Always check to make sure that a translated document is not already held by the BRIDGE Office or perhaps locally by a partner organisation or is publicly available elsewhere. Be aware that a number of documents may already be translated and therefore will not have to be translated again. When translations have been completed, please forward a copy to the BRIDGE Office. All translations should include the date they were translated and used. Before translating any documents permission must be sought from the owner(s) and authors of the […]
August 18, 2009

BRIDGE curriculum and module structure

To some extent, there is consistency between all of the modules. Each was built on a common structure, including: Facilitators Notes – the step by step guide to running a module Module Objectives – ‘this module was designed to achieve what purpose?’ Key Understandings (KU) – topic specific statements that reflect the most important things that you want your participants to know before they finish the module Learning Outcomes (LO) – Generic statements of the actions and behaviour participants will demonstrate once the workshop is complete which will often indicate that the Key Understandings are understood Sections – the basic building blocks of the module reflecting the natural classification of the topic, plus introductory and conclusion sections Sub-sections – the sub-topics to be covered in more detail Activities – the specific and step by step instructions for facilitators and participants (role plays, individual work, group work) suggested to achieve particular Learning Outcomes Resources – either external (handbooks, websites, articles, case studies on the subject developed outside the context of BRIDGE) or internal (presentations, handouts, overheads developed by the BRIDGE curriculum designers). While there is commonality, each module is also quite distinctive, depending on the topic at hand, and the thematic group to which it belongs. Each of the modules has been developed by a unique team of curriculum designers (writers/editors), reflecting the expertise, available resources, and current thinking connected with that particular subject. Program and workshop developers will discover that each module has its own style, reflected in the preference for types of activities, emphasis, and tone. There is also a difference in the relative sizes of the modules – ranging from three day to multi-week. Refer to: 8.3 Annex 3: BRIDGE Modules at a Glance The BRIDGE website ( is the principle dissemination tool for the Version 2 curriculum. Details of new modules or materials released after the publication of this manual can be found on the BRIDGE website. Agenda building The shape of the workshop will depend on several factors – the objective(s), the time that can be spared, geographical location of participants, and the budget. You may need to do some hard thinking before finalising the agenda. There are more activities and materials in every module than can be covered in a short workshop. As a facilitator, you should select which modules and activities you will include in your agenda based on the objectives you have defined for the training. The activities are designed to give you as wide a choice as possible. Use those that best meet the needs of your participants, alter them as your participant’s level of interest and experience suggests, and leave the rest. Often you find that there are too many objectives – so you must either design a longer workshop, if that is possible, or cut back on your objectives. For reasons of cost or demands on the time of participants, a workshop may have to be shortened. Many prefer a workshop at the end of the week even if it runs partly into a weekend. A two-day workshop can be spread over three days with many advantages: The first morning is spent in travel Starting with lunch allows for renewal or formation of relationships Latecomers miss lunch but not the workshop! The first post-lunch malaise is dissipated by the excitement of a new situation Two overnight periods become available for homework/preparation The workshop finishes at midday on the third day, and those who must leave early miss dinner and not the final and important workshop session! To aid the customisation team, a set of sample agendas (half day workshop, 1-day workshop, 2-day workshop, etc.), reflecting the deeper understanding that the curriculum designers have of their particular modules. However, these agendas are only meant to be a guide. They will themselves have to be customised Ideally, there is continuity between the program development phase and the facilitation phase – so that the facilitation team is comfortable with the material and activities chosen, as well as the reasoning behind. Development of other resources The types of materials (other than the BRIDGE curriculum resources for the workshops) that might need to be developed, adapted and translated for a BRIDGE program could include the following: Module summaries and Facilitators Notes for all relevant modules This Implementation Manual BRIDGE information and promotional materials, such as brochures, videos Graphical material, such as binder covers, spines, dividers Letterhead and other office administration supplies Letters to client organisations, donors, facilitators and participants Directional signs Promotional banners Name tags Some material that should be sought in advance from the client organisation includes: Legal documents – for example, electoral laws and procedures Electoral planners and information (such as election calendars, and policies) Current and past electoral material (e.g. manuals, information brochures and booklets) Public outreach and promotional materials (e.g. posters, audio-visuals and stickers) Relevant training materials It is important to provide feedback to the BRIDGE Office on any […]


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