Volunteer translators are at the heart of Translators without Borders’ response to the European refugee crisis. They work tirelessly to translate a range of important content such as directions on how to reach specific locations or camps, instructions on what to do inside an asylum center, media roundups, weather forecasts, and other articles that may help refugees on their journey.
Translation breaks barriers
Seham Abdou Ebied, an Egyptian, remembers the influx of refugees in her town as soon as the Syrian conflict broke out. They told her stories of war and destruction, about their children and relatives being killed in front of their eyes. The refugees she met fled their homes and walked all the way to Turkey before coming to Egypt. “The images I’ve seen in the media of drowned children and adults – I kept thinking to myself that they are escaping from death to another.”
“Refugees, children and adults, need to understand and receive accurate information in such a crisis – and this can only be achieved through communication in their native language. That’s why I believe translation is as important as food and shelter because it removes the barriers, and helps people cope when they are suffering and far away from home”, explains TWB’s volunteer translator Seham Abdou Ebied.
refugees can’t wait
As part of a larger team, Seham communicates with other members though Skype, where they share files for translation.
“This was all set up by TWB managers, who provide us with very professional support and do their best to answer all our queries. In the world of translation, you have to be quick. Translation for NGOs and refugees needs to be prompt, as there are new documents every hour. Sometimes I have translation work, but then I receive a translation request for TWB, I think and say:”
“My work can wait, but refugees can’t. What a wonderful feeling it is to do something for humanity, and to relieve someone in distress”
Seham learned about Translators without Borders through her colleagues.
“Once I found out about TWB’s mission, I filled out the application form and waited for response. After a month, I was delighted to receive an offer to become a member Rapid Response Team for Arabic.”
Do you want to break barriers with translation? Sign up as a volunteer translator on the TWB website.
By Marketa Sostakova, Translators without Borders volunteer