job posting – Researcher: Translators w/o Borders

Researcher – Language in Education

Researcher – Language in Education in Cox’s Bazar

The mission of Translators without Borders is to provide people access to vital knowledge in their language through translation and interpreting, building language translation capacity at a local level, providing translation and simplification services that are culturally appropriate, accessible and open source, and raising awareness globally of language barriers.

Contract length: up to 20 working days
Contract type: Consultant
Location: Remote

Travel: One trip to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (maximum 15 days)

Application Deadline: 11 February 2019

Click here to apply, presenting your CV and a cover letter containing your technical proposal outlining methodology and fees.

Due to the urgency of the vacancy, screening and interviews will commence immediately and the candidate can be selected at any stage before the closing date.

About Translators without Borders

Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of language professionals, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information every year.

In 2013, TWB created the first-ever crisis relief translation service, Words of Relief, an initiative that intends to improve communications between crisis-affected communities and humanitarian responders before, during, and after a crisis, by eliminating the language barriers that can impede vital relief efforts.


Extreme violence in Myanmar have driven more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This is one of the largest refugee crises in the world. This refugee population has distinct humanitarian needs such as food, shelter, and actionable information in a language they understand. The only language that everyone in this community speaks and understands is Rohingya; a language that has no written form and has, in the past, attracted very little research into terminology and structure.

To best respond to the Rohingya community’s acute information needs, TWB is working in consortium with BBC Media Action and Internews to generate research and create tools to assist humanitarian actors to communicate effectively, in the appropriate language.


TWB is supporting the education sector to identify innovative approaches to reduce language barriers experienced in the delivery of education programs in this response, including to tools and resources to expand mother tongue education. The research will be led by an experienced education consultant and build on the skills and knowledge of TWB’s existing language and sociolinguistic team in Cox’s Bazar.

UNICEF has been working with education partners to develop a ‘Learning Competency Framework Approach’ which will provide the structure for learning in the absence of a curriculum. There has been much discussion on the politically sensitive issue of languages of instruction. UNICEF describes the LCFA in this way:

LCFA3 sets out the competencies to be met and guides teachers and education stakeholders on how to achieve the competencies. . . . This framework will also address sensitivities related to the language of instruction. Considering the written instructions from the National Task Force on Undocumented Myanmar Nationals and written feedback from MoPME not to use Bangla language in the teaching learning process for Rohingya children and also considering the education system and arrangement in Rakhine state from where they came from, in consultation with all stakeholders including Cox’s Bazar education sector members, it is decided that the mode of verbal instruction will be Rohingya mother tongue. English and Myanmar language will be taught as a subject and written instruction and text will be bilingual, both English and Myanmar languages.…


The consultant is expected to lead this TWB research by:

  • Working closely with TWB relevant staff members to design the most innovative and appropriate methodology for this research.
  • Consulting the relevant education actors in Bangladesh to ensure the proposed approach is locally relevant.
  • Mobilizing, managing and training a team of local researchers, data collectors, etc with logistical and language support from the TWB team in Cox’s Bazar
  • Developing an evidence base from which to understand language challenges in how teachers are trained, how they deliver information to students, and how students record information to facilitate learning.
  • Recommending action necessary for local and international actors to improve the design and implementation of education programming in respect to language, with a focus on practical solution-focused suggestions.
  • Organising and facilitating an initial feedback workshop with preliminary results at the end of deployment in Cox’s Bazar.


● A 20-page maximum editable report with programmatic recommendations and visual representation of findings. The consultant’s report will be an internal TWB report. TWB reserves the right to edit and design it before publication.

  • Datasets, questionnaires, detailed methodology and all other relevant information.

Proposed Overarching question

What are the language challenges faced by the children and teachers in Cox’s Bazar, and what can be done to address them? What practices should be adopted to minimise future language challenges? How should this inform the rollout of the LCFA?

Proposed sub questions

We anticipate that the researcher will investigate the following areas where we already understand that there are language difficulties by addressing the following:

  • How do language challenges impact the ability of teachers to:
    • understand their duties and responsibilities (including those for protection)
  • understand teaching materials
  • deliver the curriculum in a way which allows children to understand it
  • manage student assessment
  • How do language challenges impact on the ability of children to
  • learn and understand the subjects covered
  • apply learning
  • record learning
  • participate equitably in assessment processes

We anticipate the researcher will be able to make recommendations on present and future action by addressing the following:

  • What innovative approaches can be put in place to address the challenges identified at present?
  • What processes, resources, support or additional capacity would help prepare the education sector and teachers for the language challenges in delivering the LCFA


20 working days between March and May 2019 with a possibility of an extension

NB: The exact dates may be subject to slight changes.

  • Inception phase (approx 4 days)
  • Develop a research outline detailing the methodology and schedule for the research, getting internal ethics approval if necessary.
  • Desk review of relevant project documentation, reports, and secondary data.

Data gathering phase (approx 12 days)

  • Conduct fieldwork in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (this may be done in two phases). Some interviews with National educations actors may also be carried out in Dhaka to complement field research.
  • Conduct remote information gathering.
  • Inception Report

Report writing phase (approx 4 days)

  • Prepare a draft research report and share with TWB for comments and feedback.
  • Conduct debrief session with TWB staff and UNICEF, presenting key findings and recommendations
  • Submit a final report to TWB, including all raw data and original field notes

There is significant space for creativity and different ideas on the methodology or format of this research. A final framework will be designed and approved at the inception phase.


The ideal consultant is an education researcher with practical experience of the education sector in low-resource settings, an understanding of the humanitarian sector, and a strong sense of initiative.


  • 7+ years in the education sector, with humanitarian experience
  • Demonstrated high-quality research publication record
  • Demonstrated understanding of mother tongue education in low resource contexts, teacher development, curriculum development, or education in emergencies work, and awareness of the impact language can have on education
  • Excellent English writing and data analysis
  • Ability and arrangements to work remotely without significant support
  • Ability to travel to Bangladesh for up to 3 weeks
  • Experience in teacher training is desirable
  • Spoken Bangla, Chittagong or Rohingya an advantage but not essential
  • Master’s degree or higher in one of the following fields: education, social sciences or other relevant international development field

Core Values

Translators without Borders employees and volunteers are made of people who believe passionately about the value of this work and take personal responsibility for achieving the mission. Translators without Borders’ mission and organizational spirit embody the core values established in its strategic framework:

Excellence: As the leading voice for communicating humanitarian information in the right language, Translators without Borders is a leader in the translation industry and in the non-profit sector.

Integrity: Translators without Borders believes that every person, whether it is the people who we serve, our volunteers or our staff, has value, deserves respect and has inherent dignity.

Empowerment: Translators without Borders believes in using language to empower people around the world to control their own development and destiny.

Innovation: Translators without Borders recognizes and celebrates the power of innovation to address humanitarian and crisis issues around the world.

Sustainability: Translators without Borders recognizes that meeting our mission necessitates establishment and maintenance of a solid financial and organizational infrastructure.

Tolerance: Our staff and volunteers are highly knowledgeable and skilled; value each other, our partner and our recipients; create a supportive work environment; and, conduct themselves professionally at all times.

Translators without Borders is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourages qualified candidates of all genders and from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

How to apply:

Click here to apply, presenting your CV and a cover letter containing your technical proposal outlining methodology and fees.

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