My name is Sumudu and I am from Sri Lanka. I have a bachelor’s of science in Immunology and Integrative Molecular Biology and I am graduating this year. I’m always interested in conveying scientific information to the general public in order to pique their interest in science.”

How did you learn that Alison was looking for translators for its coronavirus course?

I received an email from Alison saying that they were looking for volunteers to translate the coronavirus course at the beginning of the pandemic. At the time, the number of cases in Sri Lanka was very low but after a while we went for an island-wide lockdown and now we are slowly coming back to the new normal. Since it was a very timely project and given my educational experience, I was happy to take part in it.

What was your experience of Alison before volunteering to translate? Had you studied with Alison before?

I studied several courses on Alison. I am a big enthusiast of online learning platforms. I first studied a course on Alison during high school.

Why did you offer to translate our coronavirus course?

Since misinformation was spreading fast through the internet, I thought it was my responsibility to share accurate information and support the means by which people could get accurate information and knowledge. 

Why is it important that everyone has access to important information on coronavirus?

Misleading information can cause chaos. Accurate information about the disease and preventive measures can help communities to cope better. I believe it is important that people follow reputable platforms to get this information, rather than blindly sharing what’s on social media. 

Tell us a little about your method when translating.

During the translation process, Google Translate could not provide a very accurate translation for my language. Since Sinhala sentence structure is different, direct translation can cause a totally different meaning. So I read again and again to confirm the right sense was being translated and there were certain instances when I had to translate whole sentences myself. When the actual word wasn’t in the language’s vocabulary, I described the word and put the English word in brackets for a better understanding.


Why is free learning so important and why is it important to translate it into many languages?

I believe that free learning breaks barriers and allows everyone to access knowledge without restrictions. Translation can help to break another barrier, that of language.

Have you been learning through Alison during the pandemic? How has the lockdown been for you?

From convocations to higher education, things got postponed for me during lockdown. However, online learning platforms have helped many, including myself, keep ourselves interested by studying topics we haven’t tried before. I have started taking a few courses on mental health and psychology with Alison. This is to have a better understanding of prominent mental health conditions so that I can help and understand people around me who are struggling with such conditions.

What would you say to people who might be interested in translating for Alison?

I believe translating is a method of sharing knowledge. It provides access to vital information that some people could not access due to a language barrier. So why not contribute to translation!

If you’d like to play your part in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic by helping Alison give people access to the information necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, please get in touch.

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