When it comes to how the tangle of world languages affects the ability of a farmer in Kenya to find out what she needs to know to improve her life, Lori Thicke is the go-to expert. As founder and president of Translators without Borders, Thicke has spent twenty years taking down the language barriers that stand between a subsistence farmer and a higher crop yield, between a young man in Uganda and his dreams of building an electricity generator, between a South African girl and the information she needs to keep herself safe from the AIDS virus.

Lori Thicke’s speaking engagements have included audiences in Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Borneo, Brussels, Dublin, London, Luxembourg, Miami, Nice, Paris, Portland, Saint Raphael, San Jose, Santa Clara and Seattle.  Across the globe, Thicke has been raising awareness of the single most cost-effective way to fight poverty: information in the right language. With infectious enthusiasm she has infused audiences with hope for the future where a cellphone can give a poor farmer the sum of all human knowledge in the palm of her hand.

Thicke’s interest in languages was sparked when she moved to Paris at the age of 27, fresh out of graduate school. Intending to write the Great Canadian Novel, she instead discovered the power of languages. She went on to found Lexcelera, a translation company that today operates in Paris, in London, and in her hometown of Vancouver, as well as the world’s leading translation non-profit, Translators without Borders.

Opening at Localization World Seattle

Translators without Borders currently donates hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pro bono translations each year to support humanitarian work across the world.

5 thoughts on “About Lori

  1. Dear Madam

    Since I´ve read about the mentoring program in African languagues, I want to know more about its requirements, for instance:
    + Is it absolutely necessary to be a translator? Are students allowed to participate in the program?
    + Are you going to couch translators in African languagues or are you going to couch African languages speakers in translation skills?
    + Other requirements to be fulfilled.

    I look forward to receive the information and I would appreciate it.
    Thank you in advance.
    Yours sincerely,

    Ma del Carmen

  2. Hi Lori,

    You sure are passionate about helping others. You are also very much into languages. I have to ask you something.

    All over English Canada, French is taught as a second language generally for 4 years at elementary schools. Most of English Canada has no French speaking people. So what is the use of teaching students French for 4 years if they can’t practice speaking it. They don’t become English-French bilinguals. I think huge amount of money being spent on teaching French only for 4 years at elementary schools is a mostly wastage of money. If French has to be taught as Canada’s official language it should be taught from grade 1-12, otherwise students should be taught.

    Is it not better if students are taught their mother tongues so they can practice speaking them with their family and community?
    I understand it is only possible to offer students’ mother tongue if there are sufficient students to form a class. In Surrey, in some elementary schools there are up to 90% of all student population is Punjabi-speaking, but they are offered French as a second language, not Punjabi. Only 3 out of 100 elementary schools in Surrey are offering Punjabi classes. You can visit PunjabiTutor.com to see how widely Punjabi is spoken in Canada.
    By not offering students’ mother tongues at schools means not recognizing multilingualism. In this case Canada is not really a multicultural and multilingual country.

    • costs and budgets are very relevant and i agree with the concern expressed. However, i do think Europeans must make the effort to know about their own diversity, linguistic, legal, cultural, as well as global diversity. This will also make the EU more liveable I believe and should be a basic mutual obligation among our countries.

  3. Hi Lori,
    I read your article: We should care that B.C. Languages are going extinct. In it you stated “to answer just this question, a group of researchers started looking into the distressingly high rate of suicide among First Nations youth. As far as indicators of a lack of community well-being go, suicide is a good one”.
    I wondered if you could share with me the “group of researchers”. I am aware of the work by Chandler Lalonde in BC but was wondering if there were others working on this issue? Thanks,

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