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Cartoon Crowd System, Speech Bubble End

Clear communication is always a critical factor in business and in life, and even more so during times of war.

News reports are filled with day-to-day coverage of events unfolding the world over, and as we tune in to learn the latest, we should be thankful for the people who make it possible for us to comprehend what’s happening.

Without these translators, the stories of the people impacted by war might be heard only by those with a familiarity of the language. The rest of us would stand by helplessly, relying on the images to tell the story and missing out on the nuances provided by heartbreaking accounts of personal experiences.

A picture tells a story of a thousand words, it’s true, but language fills in the blanks.

In recent weeks, thanks to the seemingly never-ending work of translators, we’ve heard the stories of heroes who’ve taken up arms against Russia during their shameless invasion of Ukraine.

We’ve heard the harrowing accounts of people forced to flee their homes with whatever possessions they could carry.

We know of the kindness of citizens in neighboring countries, where homes were opened to refugees, and critical goods — baby strollers, wheelchairs, stuffed toys, clothing — donated to those who’d left behind so much.

We know of the heroism of Vitaly Skakun Volodymyrovych, a Ukrainian marine battalion engineer, who detonated a bomb on a bridge to deter the advance of Russian troops, knowing full well that he would die in the process.

We know of the woman who bravely confronted Russian troops and suggested they fill their pockets with sunflower seeds so that when they died, something beautiful might take their place.

We know of the brewery that switched its production focus to creating Molotov cocktails to aid the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, the reservists who responded to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call to arms.

We listen as Zelenskyy gives updates on the situation, encourages his fellow countrymen to fight, and petitions the great nations of this earth to step in and assist before it’s too late.

And with each new story that we hear, whether it makes us smile or cry, we catch a glimpse of how life really is in Ukraine. We understand that without the excellent translators doing their jobs — even when said jobs cause them to choke up in tears — our understanding of what happens would be limited to gleaning what we can from video and photos.

We would see the lines of baby carriages and other goods at a train station in Poland, without knowing the story behind it.

We would see a bridge in ruins, without knowing of the bravery of one very special young man.

We would see a photo of a woman in winter garb, pointing at a Russian soldier, unaware of the landscaping suggestion she offered.

We would see photos of people filling bottles with rags and liquid, and be not able to guess at what was happening, but we would know the full story.

Today, more than ever, we’re thankful for the diligent work of these on-the-ground translators who keep us up to date with stories from Ukraine.

May your work continue to enlighten the world.

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