A photograph of Halyna Dubova wearing a lab coat. There are other people wearing lab coats in the background, giving the impression that she is in a classroom. She has medium-length brown hair,stylish red nails, and wears a black and gold wristwatch. Next to her photograph are illustrations of a stack of books, a pair of headphones, a bubbling test tube, and a speech bubble containing the letters ABC.

Translator Spotlight: Empowering Ukrainian Learners with Dr. Halyna Dubova

In order to really connect with a learner, we need to speak their language. That's why LabXchange has been working with translators from around the world to make our platform and content available in languages beyond English. Starting in 2022, we began efforts to translate materials to Ukrainian; as a result, the entirety of the Foundational Concepts and Techniques in Biotechnology cluster has been translated, with efforts to translate others (such as the Remote Learning cluster) currently ongoing.

Dr. Halyna Dubova is an associate professor of biology and one of the volunteer translators working on LabXchange's Ukrainian translation project. Originally from Ukraine, Halyna came to the United States in February 2022 to be with her daughter and young grandson. On the same day that she arrived, Russia invaded eastern Ukraine. Read on to learn why Halyna believes translation of learning resources to Ukrainian is so important for her country.

What is your relationship with science education?

Looking back on my educational experiences to date, I believe that I am fortunate to be able to recall the memories fondly. As long ago as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the natural world. That childish fascination has not left me but rather deepened over the years. Having arrived at A-levels, my developing interest in science—especially biology—was firm by the time decision time came.

A quotation by Halyna Dubova, Ph.D. reads: “In my opinion, the tremendous work done by our amazing team will help a huge number of young people in Ukraine…. Students and adults looking to build their knowledge of biology now have more ways to access hundreds of hours of free, high-quality digital content in the sciences.” Next to the quotation is a photograph of Halyna Dubova standing in a classroom in front of a blackboard, holding a potted orchid and smiling. She wears a white blazer over a black and white spotted dress with a lace collar.

After a three-year course of study at the Starobilsk Medical College in Ukraine, I worked as a nurse at the hospital for construction workers. At the age of 28, I completed my undergraduate degree in biology from Francisk Scorina Gomel State University in Belarus. Soon after, I moved to the Medical University of Luhansk, where I began a Ph.D. under the supervision of professor R. A. Barilayk. My research focused on genetic mutation in the liquidators of the consequences of the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. I completed my Ph.D. in 1997.

After that, I went on to teach medical biology and medical botany in the department of Medical Biology in Luhansk State Medical University. For over 40 years, I have successfully taught and mentored many masters and non-masters students, full-time and part-time students, high school students, and foreign students, in both lecture and laboratory classes.

How did you become interested in translation?

When I was offered the opportunity to participate in the LabXchange Ukrainian translation project, I immediately accepted because I decided to help in any way I could. I thought that if my degree provides a way for me to help, then I will use it.

  1. This way I can make my modest contribution to the development of higher and specialized education in Ukraine and help many Ukrainian students to realize their dream of studying in the best foreign universities.
  2. I love students of all ages, languages, culture, and learning, and that job allowed me to be immersed in all those things.
  3. English is not my first language. My languages are Ukrainian and Russian. So, it was very important and interesting for me to continue to work to improve my English.
There is text in Ukrainian that says "Наука потрібна всім. Науцi потрібнi всі." which means "Everyone needs science. Science needs everyone." Across the bottom of the image there is a traditional Ukrainian-inspired pattern in pink, green, blue, and white.
"Everyone needs science. Science needs everyone."

What was the most challenging thing about translating from English to Ukrainian?

At the beginning of the work, I was not comfortable communicating in English because a good English-to-Ukrainian translator may not be perfectly fluent in English but must be very good in Ukrainian. In this case I'm no exception. I had to adapt some of the terminology used in Ukrainian universities to the American terminology, for which I had to spend time studying this issue.

How will your translation work impact students and science education in Ukraine?

In my opinion, the tremendous work done by our amazing team will help a huge number of young people in Ukraine because LabXchange is a free resource for remote and hybrid learning from Harvard available in Ukrainian. Students and adults looking to build their knowledge of biology now have more ways to access hundreds of hours of free, high-quality digital content in the sciences, including lab simulations, that students can remix into customized learning narratives. Social features, like classes, discussion forums, and mentorship, empower and connect learners, educators, and researchers worldwide. This cluster will help our Ukrainian students quickly start learning and teaching online with LabXchange.

What motivates you to continue your work?

My main motivation is our students! Another motivation is the opportunity to work on challenging and meaningful projects that positively impact the world. I find it incredibly rewarding to be part of a team that makes a difference and contributes meaningfully to society. I am particularly drawn to educational establishments with a strong sense of purpose and mission aligning with my values.

Read more about LabXchange's translation projects:

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LabXchange team

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