An Irish company is donating its technology and language services to help people affected by the current crisis in Ukraine.
Translit, a Cork and Limerick-based language service provider, has offered assistance to Irish government bodies, NGOs and charities. They are also aiming to help individuals who cannot get support.
They are donating their interpreting technology that helps multilingual meetings and events take place by giving interpreters the opportunity to tune in from a remote location.
Translit RSI, which was released last year, will be used to aid Ukrainian refugees with a potential 100,000 expected to reach Ireland in the coming weeks and months.
Translit CEO Alex Chernenko was born in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which has come under heavy fire from Russian forces in the past week – he is determined to help out.
“I have friends and family in Ukraine who are directly affected by this and I am hearing their awful stories every day,” said Mr Chernenko.
“A woman who works with me, she has bombs exploding next to her and seven times a day she leaves her work desk and goes down to the bunker.
“It’s not just what I am reading in the news, I am talking to someone and I can hear sirens in the background before they hang up. They come back two hours later after spending the time in the bunker.
“Ukraine is my home country and now I see cities there being destroyed, people who have lived there are having to flee and leave their homes because they don’t feel safe.
“I can’t understand it but my team and I will do whatever we can to help.”
Over 1 million refugees fled Ukraine to the neighbouring Poland, Romania and Moldova in the first week of the invasion.
And the Irish have been joined by the Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Moldovan, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian communities here to help get aid to where it is needed most.
Mr Chernenko arrived in Ireland from Ukraine in 2003 and he knows how important it is to access language services, with Translit also offering not-for-profit document translation among other services.
“We are extending our help to the refugees who cannot access the language services they need, and we will make our remote interpreting technology available to various government bodies and organisations,” said Mr Chernenko.
“A few years after I came to Ireland we saw an influx of immigrants when the EU expanded, that showed that there was a huge lack of resources – Ireland was not ready.
“This will likely cause another disruption to the services, and after working on the front line as an interpreter last time, I know what ways we can help to ease the refugees into their time here in Ireland.
“It’s important for individuals to get help fast because they are stressed, they are frustrated and they need assistance. It’s also important for the government and NGOs to have a reliable partner because it works both ways.”