The year 2021 has brought one of the toughest challenges and hardships for businesses around the world, affecting all communities of the social spectrum. Developing countries in Southeast Asia have been no exception. Amid the perpetuating COVID-19 pandemic, the region has undergone a huge political turmoil, resulting in tremendous political and economic instability. More recently, Myanmar, also formerly known as Burma, got the brunt of the crisis leading to a serious plight for many residents. It certainly has affected the workflow of all Burmese translators and translation agencies. Despite the adversity, Hansem has tackled and overcome the calamity we faced with our resilience and unrelenting tenacity staying ahead of the game, steering the ship in the right direction.
I. The political situation in Myanmar:
Sadly, the country is on the verge of economic collapse today due to the severe consequences of the coup d’état and the outbreak of the COVID pandemic earlier this year.
The economy has taken a massive hit within the few months since the country’s political upheaval. Several banks and factories have closed due to workers quitting their jobs and returning to their hometowns. Even when the banks are open, there is still a cash shortage, so people must line up early in the morning to withdraw money from ATMs. Power outages and internet connection interruptions are frequent, affecting people’s lives and business activities, particularly for companies that regularly operate online. Many foreign companies have evacuated their employees from Myanmar.
II. COVID situation in Myanmar:
From 3 January 2020 to 6 October 2021, there have been 473,025 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 17,998 deaths, reported by WHO. Notably, over 60 percent of reported deaths from Covid-19 in Myanmar have occurred in July this year, with the number of confirmed cases doubling in May and June of the same year. As of 24 September 2021, a total of 10,935,671 vaccine doses have been administered.
III. Translation Resource situation in Myanmar:
The ongoing political and COVID situation in Myanmar, especially Yangon, has dramatically affected the availability of native translators, editors, and proofreaders. Several LSPs could not connect the suitable translators with Clients and vice versa. As for Hansem Vietnam, one of our primary freelancers even suffered from COVID in early August this year. Fortunately, her symptoms were minor, and she could still handle her tasks with limited capacity. After 2 weeks of treatment, she tested “negative” and came back in full swing.
In addition, during the coup that happened in Myanmar earlier, the military disconnected the internet during the first quarter of this year. The army also cut off the state media, TV and radio, local phone lines and disabled more internet connection across the country. These lines of action have led to the complete shutdown of particular sites, such as popular social media platforms. It has limited access to a freelance marketplace that bridges native Burmese resources and LSPs worldwide. Notwithstanding, native resources living in Yangon could find other “subtle” ways to reach out to LSPs, such as changing their VPNs. However, these methods are still illegal and unsustainable, which requires LSPs to scratch their heads for new solutions.
IV. How Hansem handles the resource situation in Myanmar:
Long before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hansem Global has strived to react to all scenarios with a measured response. Over the years, we have been working tirelessly to find Burmese translators, editors, and proofreaders for all available language pairs. Despite the ongoing challenges we continue to face, we are focusing on finding native translators living within the country and those living around the world. Thankfully, this endeavor has turned out well, as we have managed to maintain a seamless workflow with backup resources, even when our primary contacts were out of touch during the internet blackout.
In addition, Hansem Global offers a vast pool of experienced Burmese resources with various backgrounds, including medical, marketing, and technical content. These translators are located both within Myanmar and other countries as well. Therefore, we are fully equipped for all cases, ready to connect the right project with the appropriate resources. Case in point, during the internet and media blackout, we could not contact Y. – our leading translator. She has been the primary contact point for project S. for five years and received raining praises from the Client. Fortunately, we contacted C. – our backup vendor, and finished the job with the same efficiency and quality.
Last but not least, Hansem Global takes pride in the fact that we have developed a special bond with our resources over the years. We have provided our resources with sufficient training and feedback before and after every project to work in conjunction with them and always have mutual trust and respect. Case in point, from April to June 2016, we contacted our first team of Burmese translators to handle a large-scale, million-word EN-MY project (Code name: Project N.). The project wrapped up in huge success, with our excellent quality, prompt response, and on-time delivery held in the highest regard by the client. However, it did not just end there for Hansem Vietnam and these translators. Years later, they have become the most talented and qualified resources that we could count on whenever new projects emerge.
As proven in point by our Hansem Vietnam office and our formidable resources including the resilient Burmese linguists we cherish, we want you to know that we will be there to cater to your every need and concern even when things are in sheer turmoil and will always rise to the occasion.
In this spirit, we at Hansem Global are delighted to serve you and look forward to working with you down the road.
Please contact us immediately should you need to translate or localize any Burmese-related content during COVID-19.