Bridge for Crisis: A New Twitter Account for Refugee Audiences

by Abir Kopty and An Xiao Mina

As refugees in Europe turn to the internet for news about border crossings, access to resources and other important information, we at Meedan realized there’s a startling gap:

Most online resources useful to refugees are available only in English and other European languages, but not in Arabic, Farsi, Dari and Pashto.

We at Meedan realized we could make a small contribution to this language divide by piloting a solution: using Bridge application, our platform for human translation of social media, we have gathered a translation volunteer community and are translating these tweets from English to Arabic. These are then republished on the Twitter account ‪@BridgeforCrisis.

Translated content has included topics like:

  • news about the refugee crisis
  • useful information for refugees such as border updates, changes in laws
  • new services from accounts like @newsthatmoves, @AsylumAid and @Refugees_Gr, which are regularly tweeting about refugee issues in Europe.

So far, we’ve seen an uptick in interest that is encouraging us to continue this project. This is part of our larger How Do You Say…? project, a direct response to the language needs of refugees and aid workers. We’re developing Bridge app to serve the refugees and aid workers in camps. We’re adapting the tool to soon be able to receive translation requests through messenger apps like Viber and send back timely translations by human translators.

Interested? Here’s what you can do: