Delivering language support

Delivering language support in times of crisis.

In a crisis situation, it is vital that displaced people have access to aid and advice in their own language. Language often creates barriers for refugees to access the support and care they require, and there is inherent trauma in seeking refuge in a foreign country whose language you may not understand.

However, the challenge that authorities, NGOs and aid organisations often face is that access to and funding for professional language support can be difficult to put in place in a rapidly developing crisis situation.

To enable authorities, NGOs and aid organisations share best practices with their teams in the office and on the ground, and to put in place crisis language support at an early stage, a group of language service organisations has come together to create a set of freely available infographics and videos on crisis language support that can be shared with any local or national authority, NGO or aid organisation.

The assets outline the steps involved in putting in place language support in a crisis situation, including:

  • What’s the difference between translation and interpreting?
  • When do you need a professional, and when is volunteer support OK?
  • When can you use machine translation or interpreting apps?
  • How to take care of professional and volunteer translators and interpreters?
  • How to incorporate language support in crisis management planning?

The assets have been created as a collaborative effort by the Lapigua Foundation and Lublin Translators Association LST in Poland, the International Federation of Translators FIT Europe (of which ITI is a member), and the Association of Translation Companies in the UK.