Breaking language barriers with the We Speak Translate project

Creativity forms the backbone of the tech-based solutions we see to the issues facing refugees. Spotting answers which, previously, had been hiding in plain sight, or taking a fresh look at new ways to use the tools at our disposal can create brilliant results.

In other words, you don’t need to be a coding whizz to pitch in with a critical global issue like this. Sharing knowledge and skills are just as vital, and it’s this approach which lies behind the We Speak Translate project.
This collaboration between Google Translate and the Canadian Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria puts the Google Translate app to work, bridging communities and streamlining integration, all in less than an hour.

How does it work?

We Speak Translate is driven by what its founders see as the principal barrier to resettled refugee integration: language. Anxiety surrounding understanding one another, and being understood, is a very human thing, and steps to break down this barrier quickly reap big rewards.

The project involves training community stakeholders, organisations, and institutions to effectively use the Google Translate app.

The training takes just 40 minutes, after which participants receive a We Speak Translate decal, which they can put up on their premises to demonstrate their commitment to promoting diversity and communication across language barriers.

Familiarity with Google Translate establishes a common platform for communication while newcomers develop their English language skills. It’s a highly visible, flexible, and accessible initiative which grants terrific peace of mind, both to natives in host countries and refugees themselves.

The story so far

Since its launch in April 2017, over 1450 community members and stakeholders have received training through We Speak Translate. Thanks to a broad focus on providing training where it’s needed most, recipients have included:

• local libraries
• recreation centres
• social service organizations
• universities
• public health centres
• museums
• banks.

Now, We Speak Translate training is available via webinar, in response to huge interest from across Canada and beyond. The challenge of promoting the project to enable even faster scaling is being met with gusto from the refugee community, as well as NGOs focused on this kind of social impact.

How can you help?

Can you help build a more inclusive world by boosting We Speak Translate’s reach? Or do you just want to know more about this amazing project?
Contact Kate Longpre for more details.

To discover more refugee tech projects like this one from the Techfugees community, follow the #TFInformation hashtag.

This post was produced by the team at Sookio. Want to see your project featured on the Techfugees website? Submit it here!

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