A Humanitarian Hero

This year, as part World Humanitarian Day, The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shared the stories of 28 humanitarian workers who dedicate their lives to helping others. TWB is beyond proud to announce that OCHA chose to share the experience of our brilliant Bengali translator, @sifatnoor :star2:

Sifat’s story was part of their #RealLifeHero Stories initiative for the Asia-Pacific region:

#RealLifeHeroes focuses on what drives humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, lack of access, and risks linked to COVID-19.” (OCHA)

Sifat Noor joined TWB in March 2020, and was a key member of our Bangla team during the COVID-19 response. His knowledge of humanitarian translation made him an invaluable addition to the team :muscle:

Sifat is not only a skilled translator and reviser, but he is also a wonderfully dynamic member of our community. Sifat truly embodies the TWB spirit, as he actively shares and seeks feedback to enhance his translation. He is unwaveringly kind, understanding and respectful in his support of others :revolving_hearts:

Communicating and working with Sifat is always a pleasure, and we feel truly honoured to be able to call him a Kató Translator.

To read Sifat’s story in full, visit https://whdasiapacific.org/stories/sifatnoor.html.


Good afternoon, everyone :sun_with_face:

Just dropping a line here to say I’m really happy to see your amazing story and work being featured, @sifatnoor. :smiley: Congratulations! :partying_face:

And I guess I can add this - since everyone else is just being shy :grin: - we’re all very proud of you. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Have a great day, Sifat - and may your super translating powers keep on bridging this world’s information gaps for years to come. :slight_smile:


Good News,
Congrats Mister @sifatnoor :clap::clap:


I have read the stroy of @sifatnoor. Congratulation, fellow translator. You are doing great job. Keep thriving.


I could write a letter of thanks, but I seldom find true thankfulness in those. This is the most affable community I have ever experienced, so I will just write my heart out:

I did not see this recognition coming, neither did I dedicate my time and energy for one. Those who are familiar with Forrest Gump would understand this — some apparition was constantly telling me “Translate Sifat, translate!” — so, I just listened to the voice and…translated.

I joined TWB out of my love for literature and words (I haven’t read tons of books, so don’t ask, please). I learned about the platform in early 2019, I just lacked the interest to give it a try. But I remember putting a sticky note glued to the top of my reading table (I regret removing that right after joining TWB, could be hell of a memorabile!) that read “The Rosetta Foundation” and “Translators without Borders,” as a part of my “to do” list. When I signed up, I was thinking, perhaps I would get to learn about the prospective initiatives of many organizations before those are implemented and have a look at the writing and reporting styles of various projects. (NO, as demanded by the TWB Code of Conduct for Translators, I do not discuss the tasks with anyone, my right hand to God :raising_hand_man:. Don’t kick me out!)

Anyway, I try to find out as much information as possible before starting something. I was curious why the website was called “Trommons,” then I found that it derived from “Translation Commons.” I was also curious about the name Kató, why we are called Kató Translators; I learned about the great Kató Lomb, she was perhaps the greatest linguist in history. Each of us embodies a little of her knowledge, a lot of her passion — this way Kató Lomb lives through “us” — the Kató Translators.

As a person, I have always been an introvert. I did not share anything on social media. I never realized the significance of this recognition until I started getting calls from friends, family members and well-wishers. I didn’t even tell my parents about it. Yesterday my father called me with a “heavy-happy” heart after watching my photo on television and asked me why I didn’t tell him (in fact, I didn’t tell anyone). Then my mother heard and wanted to see the article. Her reaction was great, she said, “Why are your lips tight? Why do you look like this?!” :rofl:

Many people asked what I did. This question was like The One in my nightmares, “Tell about yourself.” Honestly, I couldn’t clearly explain to anyone what I did. (Perhaps I was being humble like those Western movie heroes :cowboy_hat_face: — taking my hat off, putting left thumb on the edge of the jean’s pocket, and in style I was saying, “I just did what I thought would be the right thing to do, Ma’am.”)

At first, I didn’t think that I did anything significant. My brother and mother are doctors. After the pandemic started hitting harder, with a little safety my brother performed duties for 48 to 72 hours straight and got back home to tend to his pregnant wife (I’m going to be an uncle soon!). My mother operated on pregnant women when they couldn’t find a surgeon. In the last few months, the situation got really awful around here. Hospitals were refusing to admit regular patients, doctors stopped practicing as well as going to hospitals because the patients were hiding their symptoms, everyone was terrified. Many doctors died of COVID-19. There are millions like them (not only doctors) who truly risked their lives and their families’.

At first I underestimated this recognition, I thought TWB was just commending the volunteers. But my realization has changed:

I am not trivializing my (OUR) hard work anymore. Because if I do so, it’d be an act of refusing the altruism of my fellow Kató Translators. Now I believe that what WE do is noble, even though not visible. We too are saving lives by staring at the screens, brainstorming for the most suitable words and typing for hours. While translating thousands of words to the best of our knowledge, we get headaches, eye-strains, and sometimes suffer from loss of health, only to deliver the correct information so others can keep themselves safe.

But what I am most happy about is that everyone is asking about Translators without Borders! Now millions of people in Bangladesh, my friends and well-wishers abroad know about TWB, they know that “Language Matters,” that an organization like TWB exists, that a community of passionate volunteers are changing and saving lives of billions through breaking the barriers of language. I am proud of us — the TWB volunteers and staff. I am truly happy to see that people are realizing OUR contributions to humanity. Like me, most of us probably won’t even recognize that “this leaflet” was translated by them, because of the amount of tasks we complete every day. The entire TWB community has inspired me, you taught me to be more respectful toward everyone, even to the harshest tone. You all have made me realize the gravity of OURdonations.” I shall always deem this recognition a collective achievement.

Finally, thanks to the non-profits for choosing Translators without Borders and trusting its volunteers.



This for Andreia (@andfraz ) and Salwa (@SalwaAlrifai ), you two are definitely the brightest volunteers in our community. Anyone gets stuck, I always see one of you with correct, specific, and, if needed, illustrative answers. Both of you unfeignedly represent the Kató Translators. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

And Andreia, I’ve been thinking about giving you a nickname and I’ve come up with one — TWB Ninja. You always find the hidden/long-lost threads and share with the community, no matter how old/forgotten those are. If I had the authority, I would create a “Community Ninja” vacancy and appoint you right away! :sweat_smile:


Hello Sifat, :cherry_blossom:

Hope you are doing well! :dizzy:

Oh My God! What A L O V E L Y message! I really am speechless! :heartbeat:

You actually made me feel how much important our role as translators is, and specifically your role as a Bengali translator. I can absolutely see why you have been chosen to be this Humanitarian Hero :muscle: and this featured translator :medal_sports:. Those who work the hardest, who are the most discreet about their good work and don’t seek gratitude are actually those who deserve respect and gratitude the most, and to shine the brightest :star2: between the other stars. :stars:

Thanks a million for your kind words! :sunflower: It is always a pleasure to provide any kind of help here; answering questions, translating or revising. :star_struck: :grin:

Haha! Good nickname! What do you think Anderia, our lovely Ninja? :smile: :heart:

Thanks again Sifat, and CONGRATS for being the feature translator for this year! :tada: You really deserve this and more. :sparkles: :dizzy:
Kind regards, :blossom:


This is the best way to start the week :sun_with_face: Sifat, you captured the true spirit of TWB community. A group of selfless, generous people linked by something bigger than any recognition or professional ambition. You all are the best people and advocate of our little organization and our work wouldn’t be possible without you, your commitment and motivation. We are so thankful to have the honor to work with you all.


Good afternoon, everyone :slight_smile:

Thank you for kindness, @sifatnoor. Like Salwa, I do like to help whenever I have a chance. I’m a volunteer with other organizations, but there’s no place like TWB. :heart: It’s always a pleasure to be around here.

As to the nickname of Ninja… Well, let’s just say that I might be the same person who cut her own hair at age 10, inspired by this series, on the eve of her’s sister baptism, to the great bewilderment of her mother, who grabbed her by the arm and hastened to a hairdresser. :joy: So, yeah, I like that nickname very much. On the other hand, as you can see, I lack the swiftness of a Ninja. And the only reason I wear a mask these days is because of the coronavirus. So I’m afraid I don’t deserve to be called a Ninja haha :grin:

But let’s not forget that this is your moment, Sifat! :star2: I subscribe Salwa’s words; as to yours, I’m (equally) speechless. Despite the fact that we’re living at a time where everything is pretty much live, real spontaneity and real straightforwardness are obsolete things. This includes what you did - speaking from the heart. So reading you was refreshing, compelling and heartwarming. Thank you for that, for all your kindness and dedication and for sharing this achievement with the whole TWB community. :slight_smile: :heart:

And, again, congratulations on being featured! :partying_face:

Have a great day, all of you. :slight_smile:


And thank you too. It is great to be around smart admins as well ))

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