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in Low Resource Settings 

In international development, professional interpreting and translation is not only for major conferences. It's just as important for on-the-ground project implementation. 

Don't let your project fail because of language barriers. 

International development projects often struggle for funding and resources, especially smaller non-profits. It's all too easy to sacrifice prioritizing the cost for professional language services. Projects and meetings "get by" with ad hoc linguists, but the cost for cutting corners can be very high. The money invested in bringing experts together from different countries can be wasted or diluted when they are not allowed to share the nuance and depth of their knowledge in their own language. 

It is possible to get the language support you need and still stay within budget! The key is adopting a mixed approach to leverage the language resources you have at hand while still including professional translators and interpreters to handle critical content.  

Words Across Borders knows the fundamental importance of the work you do to serve communities and the environment. We want to work with you, within your resources, to ensure your project is successful.


Katharine Allen providing whispered simultaneous interpreting to Ofelia Perez, who relayed into Tzotzil for traditional indigenous midwives in San Larrainzar, Chiapas, Mexico


Simultaneous interpreting for the Rotary Foundation and Partners in Health community health workers in Jaltenango, Chiapas, Mexico.

Recent Projects:

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In 2015 and 2019, Katharine and Julie Burns (shown here) helped embed professional interpreting and translation in ongoing Rotary Foundation maternal-child health medical missions in San Larrainzar and Jaltenango, Chiapas, Mexico. The projects have been recognized by the World Health Organization for excellence. The language services model used is in the process of being applied to new projects.


The Chiapas work is temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 




In 2019, scientists from the United, States, Chile, Argentina and Mexico gathered in California to create an international working group to protect phalaropes, a key migratory indicator bird species. 


Using portable equipment, a small professional interpreter team worked closely with the meeting organizers to cover both plenary and breakout sessions.


Even though some of the scientists from Latin America spoke English to varying degrees, all were able to express their full scientific knowledge and experience in their native language, providing more meaningful and actionable communication.

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Large-scale disasters and global health crises are multilingual events. Response teams come from all over the world and speak many languages. "Just-in-time" training for bilingual members of military and civilian response teams can be effective in improving multilingual communication. 

Katharine served as a civilian consultant for curriculum design and review for the Department of Defense Global Health Interpreting Program.



  • Working with Interpreters for Healthcare Providers

  • Basic Training for Interpreters in Global Health Settings


Training in Obstetrical Skills in Rural Chiapas, Mexico -

February 2021

Contact Words Across Borders for more information about embedding professional interpreting and translation into your development projects. 

Let's Work Together

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