Do what you can to help where you are. That’s an important axiom for making a positive impact for animals anywhere. But, as a traveler or expat, it can be difficult to connect with local animal welfare resources, especially while trying to search in foreign languages. Thanks to online translation resources and social media, this kind of search has become easier than ever!

Social media can be a good place to start, since a lot of groups and organizations find this venue easier to maintain and to communicate through. Enter the location and an animal word (for example, cats, dogs, etc.) into the search bar on facebook. It might be necessary to try a variety of broader locations and terms (for example, "animals" instead of "cats"). If groups or organizations with English pages can be found, they'll likely be easier to communicate with. However, searching in the native language will often turn up a larger number of resources.

Google Translate can be very helpful in finding links and in understanding websites in foreign languages. Here are some tips on using this tool to track down local information. The following steps can be helpful for use searching on social media venues, as well as on the web.

1. Start by opening translate in Google and entering animal protection, cat protection, animal hospital (depending on what you are searching for) in the translation box.

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2. Open a new tab and copy/paste the translation in the search bar.

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3. Open a third tab and search the city or broader area, plus wikipedia. Open the Wikipedia page and copy the city/location in the foreign language.

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4. Paste the city (in the foreign language) into the second tab search bar, along with search terms. Adding terms like "TNR" can help find more specific resources (for example, low cost spay/neuter and/or the loan of traps).

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5. Once you have the page of links, use the translate this page option at the top right of the search bar.

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6. Open links to check details. the pages should also automatically translate, but if not, use the page translating option again.

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Check a number of links and refine the search as needed. Use the translate box on the first tab for writing and translating simple messages with which to contact organizations or resources.

Some detective work might be needed along the way. If groups or organizations are mentioned in blog links that come up, it can be helpful to search those specific names. Articles that come up in searches might provide information about people helping animals in the given area, and people helping animals might be able to recommend resources. For example, clinics specializing in or willing to help rescues at lower costs may only be known by the rescuers using them, so a recommendation is essential. Finding a clinic able to help untamed animals might take some reading between the lines. Look for clinic web pages mentioning animal welfare or providing extra information about spay/neuter.

The key is to search for and reach out to as many efforts as possible, until the appropriate resource can be found. Remember to be concise and to send pictures of the animal(s) in question when possible. Let the person or organization know that you are willing to do something too, and not just interested in handing off the problem. For more tips on getting help for animals while in a foreign country, check out There's No Place Like a Forever Home and Rehoming a Rescued Cat or Kitten in Japan.

Tags: Animal Rescue travel volunteering cats dogs animal shelter

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Susan Roberts

I'm an educator, traveler, vegan, and animal welfare enthusiast. I'm originally from America, but have been living in Japan for over 20 years.

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