Local Languages - translation and access

Serving underserved languages

With over 100 documentary films about human rights, THE WHY strives to make these films accessible to as many people as possible. A central part of enabling this access consists of making documentary films available in local languages through dubbing and subtitles. At the moment, we have films available in over 25 languages - including Swahili, Hindi, Ukrainian, Thai and Farsi.

This localization process based on creating language versions of films is particularly important when it comes to increasing access to information around the world. Indeed, while there are over 7.000 languages spoken globally, 90% of all online content is available in only 10 languages.

Films are a great way to spark conversations about pressing issues and when information is made available in a language that communities can understand, this enhances their potential to engage actively in global and local conversations and to contribute with their perspectives as well as experiences to these conversations.

Woman sits in GRT studio booth with microphones on the table.
The studio at GRT were documentaries are being dubbed into Gagauz for the first time.
Three people sit and hold a conversation in front of a crowd in front of a decorative fireplace. Put on by the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Initiative.
Conversation with two experts in plastic waste following screening of WHY PLASTIC films by the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Initiative.

Communicating so everyone can understand

Recently, the very first sign language version has been made for one of THE WHY’s films from the ‘WHY PLASTIC?’ series. This was created thanks to the work of our partner, the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Initiative (DEDI). Documentary films have an inherently powerful storytelling component, and the addition of sign language versions reflects an important step in terms of enhancing access to the important stories they tell. 

Language can also play a critical role when it comes to fighting political propaganda. THE WHY is committed to counteracting the flow of Russian propaganda broadcasts and launched its new Youtube channel available in Russian in 2023. Similarly, THE WHY donates films to Russia’s bordering countries Belarus and Moldova through the broadcasters Belsat TV and GRT . As a result of our collaboration with GRT, THE WHY's films became the first ever documentaries dubbed into the Gagauz language!