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:
- Follow @bridgeforcrisis on Twitter
- Share the link for @bridgeforcrisis (http://www.twitter.com/bridgeforcrisis) amongst your Arabic-speaking friends, especially refugees and refugee communities
- Connect with Meedan at RightsCon this week in Brussels. We’ll have a demo on Thursday at noon at Clarity (8th Floor), and a booth running throughout the conference.
- Follow the RightsCon Translation Lab on social media.