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Words of Comfort, Words of Relief

In a crisis, sometimes a word in the right language can make all the difference. For Translators without Borders, that word is “Welcome”.

Language might not be the first issue people associate with European refugees. In our work on the Greek island of Lesbos, we have seen an urgent need for information in the right language. Imagine surviving a perilous journey by sea with your family and not knowing where you’ve landed or where to go next, or  wondering whether the locals will help you or send you back out to sea.

Translators without Borders is making sure that the first word the refugees see and understand is Welcome. To make this possible and to ensure better communication on the ground, Translators without Borders has set up virtual Rapid Response Teams of translators for Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Greek, Pashto, and Urdu.  Rapid Response Teams work remotely to deliver essential translations in real time.

Without Greek or English language skills, arrival on these foreign shores can be bewildering and frightening. When the refugees arrive at night, they need to know whether they should continue on (travel is dangerous for them at night) and where they can find dry clothes and shelter for themselves and their children (directions are provided to the nearest refugee camp).

As the refugees move north, the search for asylum to escape the wars and other dangers they left behind. Translators without Borders continues to provide language support by participating in innovative programs sponsored by Google, the Red Cross, and the UN High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR.

 Translators without Borders Deputy Director Rebecca Petras leads the ongoing efforts to help the refugees. An inspirational team of volunteers is working to keep up with the demand, but more help is needed. Translators without Borders currently has a need for more Arabic, Pashto, Farsi/Dari, and Greek speakers  to help deliver rapid response to the European refugee crisis. If you are a translator in any of these languages and would like to volunteer with Translators without Borders, please fill out our volunteer form HERE.

Safety, dignity, and empowerment for all refugees is not possible without the right to information in their native language. The volunteers for Translators without Borders believe this is a cause worth fighting for. 

Lori Thicke

Founder Lexcelera and LexWorks (a Lexcelera technology company)

Founder Translators without Borders

Twitter: @lorith