European Translator Shortage in Refugee Crisis

December 6, 2015 - Blog
European Translator Shortage in Refugee Crisis
European Translator Shortage in Refugee Crisis
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The refugee crisis that is currently engulfing Europe is one of the most challenging issues the world is facing. Governments, aid agencies and volunteers are working to help refugees where they can, however the sheer scale of the logistical operation required to handle this many people is creating a strain everywhere. One issue which receives very little coverage is the huge demand for translation services, however there have been some innovative responses to solve the challenges faced.

Unprecedented numbers of refugees are moving from country to country and the subsequent need for Arabic translators cannot be met on the ground in most cases. A crisis of this scale has created unique demands, particularly at borders where essential documentation and information cannot be completed by migrants. Aid agencies and local authorities assist where they can, however they are stretched to capacity.

A Unique Hungarian Solution

The Central European University (CEU) of Budapest issued a call for translators and interpreters to help virtually. When Hungary closed its border with Serbia, hundreds of refugees were stranded at the border living in makeshift tents and crowded into the Budapest train station. While Migration Aid Hungary stated it didn’t need help on the ground, they did need virtual assistance through Skype, email and phone from Arabic speakers. In response to this the CEU set up a database of staff, students and volunteers through a Facebook group where hundreds registered to be on call to assist.

Germany’s Constitution Translated

Germany opened its borders to refugees, but it also expects new migrants to adapt to the German way of life. To facilitate this process the German national constitution was translated into Arabic and 10,000 copies were distributed to refugee centers across the country.

Housing, feeding, moving and communicating with hundreds of thousands of migrants has created a huge strain across Europe, however these small but significant acts along the way do help.

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