This is just one small example of why we need a international common language.

In 1975, the World Health Organization refused:

  • U$S 148,200 for a better public health service in Bangladesh
  • U$S 83,000 to fight leprosy in Burma
  • U$S 26,000 for basic hygiene in Dominican Republic
  • U$S 0.50 per patient to cure trachoma, which has millions of victims and can cause blindness
  • and many other requests

Meanwhile, it accepted Chinese and Arabic as working languages increasing the expenses in in translations by U$S 5,000,000, every year.

Let’s add a bit of perspective. The cost of all projects for Africa is U$S 4,200,000, almost a whole million dollars less that translating for these two new languages.

It is clear that a common simple international language is needed.

Source: Everyone’s own language by Maire Mullarney, citing an open letter by Claude Piron.

Update 2008-11-22: corrected some errors and expanded the article.