The Rohingya are marginalized in Myanmar society, as reflected in their lack of legal status and recognition as citizens. Across the border in Bangladesh, they are also unable to participate fully in society due to their lack of legal status and recognition as refugees. In both contexts, language barriers reinforce that exclusion.

In March 2019, Translators without Borders (TWB) set out to understand what impact this has on Rohingya communities’ access to quality humanitarian services in Sittwe, Myanmar and Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The findings aim to facilitate the delivery of effective humanitarian and social cohesion programming in support of Rohingya refugees and displaced people.

Read the three-part report, Misunderstanding + misinformation = mistrust, at the following links:

A set of language tools for humanitarian organizations in Rakhine State accompanies this analysis. These a glossary of humanitarian terminology in Rohingya, Myanmar, Rakhine and English and sector-specific language guidance for health and education providers in Rakhine State. They complement the existing terminology resources and guidance for the refugee response in Bangladesh.

To learn more about TWB’s support for the Rohingya response, contact: or

Project resources and updates

This glossary includes terminology for Rohingya, Rakhine, Myanmar, and English.
View and use the glossary here. 

This dynamic, visual summary of our research shows why language reinforces social exclusion for Rohingya communities. 
View the summary here

View and use the health guide in English and Myanmar.

View and use the education guide in English and Myanmar.