Translit, an Ireland-based language service provider (LSP), has announced that it will be donating its services to the roughly 100,000 Ukrainian refugees expected to enter Ireland over the next few months.
Specifically, the company says it will be offering its interpreting technology, Translit RSI, to Irish government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), charities, and refugees who are unable to get support from these groups. MultiLingual spoke with the company’s CEO, Alex Chernenko, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, about the importance of providing linguistic assistance to Ukrainian refugees as war rages on in their country.
“LSPs need to be the middlemen to help these people communicate with their host countries,” Chernenko said. “These people will be physically and mentally drained by the time they reach Ireland and it’s important they can communicate their message to the various government bodies when they get here. That’s where we can help.”
A few years after Chernenko moved to Ireland in 2003, the European Union expanded to include several countries in central and eastern Europe, such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The large wave of immigrants that entered Ireland in response exposed weak points in the country’s ability to provide adequate language access services — Chernenko said he committed himself to providing interpreting services to recent immigrants during this time.
“I was working on the front line in the mid-2000s when there was a huge influx of immigrants after the expansion of Europe,” he said. “I know that Ireland will struggle to find the services to cope with 100,000 arriving on our shores.”
This time around, Chernenko has a particularly personal connection to the refugee crisis — with family and friends based in Ukraine, Chernenko and his company recognized that Ukrainians will need strong support from the international community in the coming weeks. He noted that other LSPs are in an important position to provide aid to refugees, who will likely need significant help with language access as they arrive in foreign countries.
“Language services come in different shapes and sizes. The Ukrainian refugees will need help with communication including personal documents, medical records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, travel documents, (and so on),” Chernenko said. “All of that information has to be translated, and with 100,000 refugees on the way here it will be a huge challenge.”