Translation musings: International Literacy Day

Sep 8, 2015 | Uncategorized

Today it’s InterSONY DSCnational Literacy Day.

It might seem natural that we are able to read the latest news online or that we can fill in a short from at the bank, however, these simple tasks are impossible for nearly 14 % of the world’s population*.

Although literacy rates have significantly improved in the last decades and many battles have been won, the war against illiteracy is still not over. While in the majority of European countries the literacy rate is 100 %, in some parts of Africa it is as low as 24 %**! In many of these countries with a low literacy rate there is a gender gap, which in most cases manifests as a disadvantage for women. For example, in Niger, only 15 % of the female population can read the daily newspaper. In Guinea, only 22% of women can write a to-do-list for the day**. These numbers are terrifying but there is hope for women in these areas. In those regions where the numbers have recently improved, the progress is mainly due to improvement in female literacy skills.

The UN has set an ambitious target: the international community will work together to “ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy” by the year of 2030***.


* The World Factbook

** UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy


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