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Translate Climate

Published on 05 December 2011
Updated on 05 April 2024

Just before the current climate change conference COP 17, in Durban, Diplo launched Translate Climate. The initiative aims to bring together illustrating and translating climate change. We started with our Climate Building Illustration that we launched in 2009 at the time of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen. In 2010 we began translating the illustration starting with a Mongolian version that was initiated by Tsengel Nergui from the Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment, and Tourism. By the time of the launch of Translate Climate we had produced our illustration in ten different languages.

Climate Building IllustrationThere are three aims we pursue: to illustrate the complexities of climate change negotiations and to increase the number of people we can reach through the illustration. The third aim is connected to a question: are we really speaking the same language when it comes to climate change? By providing translations of key terms related to climate change, we hope to enable more people to participate in the process and to find the words to express their opinions.

What we launched with Translate Climate is a wiki-based space where anyone can join and comment on the illustration and translation. Moreover, anyone can start a new translation. And this is the key of the project: those working on climate change can provide the tools for others sharing the same language to better understand the process and to better be able to voice their opinion.

After the launch we had amazing feedback. More than 1500 people from more than 120 countries visited the site, more than 60 joined the effort, and fourteen new translations were added.

This is impressive. However, much more could be achieved. Please spread the news about Translate Climate and join our initiative. Some of the translations still need reviewing such as the ones in Zulu, Kiswahili and Polish for example. You can also follow us on twitter where we initiated a climate-translation game to go along with the negotiations in Durban (follow us @climate_diplo and #translateclimate).

Last but not least, we are currently thinking about where to go from here. How can we best put the translations and illustrations to use? What projects can be developed from this? For example, what about a climate dictionary? Ideas and suggestions for cooperation are more than welcome. You can either comment here or e-mail us at climate@diplomacy.edu

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