What is language support?

During a language support a language supporter translates from one language to the other. The language supporter has a good knowledge of both languages and therefore constitutes a communication aid.

A language support is used as communication aid if people don’t speak the same language.

In the context of the work with people who fled their homes the language supporter accompanies the refugee for example during visits to the authorities and to the doctor. The language supporter makes the communication possible so that the refugee can defend his/her rights and interests personally.

Language support differentiates from the work of an interpreter and from professional cultural and language mediators. Voluntary language supporters are frequently needed. The reason for this is that there is a lack of paid interpreters and cultural and language mediators in the field of work with refugees but at the same time a high demand for translations in different languages.

Requirements for language supporters

First, it is necessary to have a good understanding of either English or German language.

For most of the appointments one has to speak German since it is the official language.

When for example the doctor or the social worker are fluent in English, an English-speaking language supporter can be deployed.

In addition, knowledge of another language (see wanted languages) is required.

How good the knowledge of the language has to be depends on the field of the language support.

We take the European frame of reference (GER) according to which languages are classified from level A1 to C2 as a rough point of orientation. (http://www.europaeischer-referenzrahmen.de/)

While a level of at least B1 is required for visits to the doctor and the authorities, for a language support during leisure activities such as an cooking event level A1-A2 can be enough.

Furthermore, a language supporter should preferably have an interest in standing up for refugees with his time, energy and personal resources. A language supporter should also have a sensitivity to the issues of racism and discrimination, as well as the willingness to further educate oneself and deal with relevant topics.

Our motivation

Irma:

Zovem se Irma Mecevic. Ja prevedem za Srpski/Bosanski. Momentano studiram još studije o južnoj Americi i političke nauke. To što me raduje s ovim poslom je, da mogu isposlovati nužde od drugi ljudi.

I am Irma Mecevic. I interpret for the languages Serbian / Bosnian. I study currently Regional Studies Latin America and Political Science. What pleases me in this work is to be able to convey the needs of people.

Svetlana:

Меня зовут Светлана. Я из России и изучаю в Кёльне социальную работу. Я перевожу на русский и английский языки и надеюсь этим помочь людям.
Когда я только приехала в Германию, я испытала острое чувство неопределенности и знаю, что мигрантам и беженцам нужна поддержка. Для этого и была создана группа Conn[ɛ]ction.

My name is Svetlana. I am Russian and I study social work in Cologne. I can translate Russian and English and I hope to be able to help people. When I arrived in Germany, I have experienced a strong sense of invisibility and I know that migrants and refugees are burdened heavily at the beginning and need support. Conn[ɛ]ction is there to provide for this.

Shikiba:

من ش ک ی با ب اب ری هس تم و . از 13 سال گی در آل مان زن دگ ی م ی ک نم . اهل اف غان س تان م .
ف رهنگ و طرز ت ف کر اف غان ی را همان ند آل مان ی ب ه خوب ی م یدان م رد و هر دوی آن ها
اح ساس راح تی م ی ک نم و ای ن ی کی از دلای لی ا ست ک ه م یخواهم ب ین مردمان ای ن دو
ف رهنگ م یان جی گ ری ک نم . هدف من از م یان جی گ ری در زب ان و رف تار ای ن ا ست ک ه
مردم ب ه ی کدی گر ن زدی ک ت ر شون د و درک ب ه تری از هم دا ش ته ب ا ش ند .

My name is Shikiba Babori. Since I am 13 years old, I have been living in Germany. Both the Afghan and the German culture and mentality do I know very well, and with both I feel at home. Not at least because I want to mediate between people of these two cultures. The aim of my translation and my behavior is to bring people closer together and to develop understanding and empathy for each other.

Sabrina:

Nga shoqërimi Vullnetar për gjuhë unë tërheqë shumë forcë e cila mua më ndihmon të qëndroj e fortë . Për shkak të periudhës së jetës sime, e di se çfarë do të thotë të kesh lënë vendin tënd dhe sa e vështirë mund të jetë të ndërtosh një jetë të re për vete dhe familjen tënde në Gjermani. Edhe „Gurët“ që dikujt i shtrihen në rrugë, dhe dalin përsëri nga barriera gjuhësore, unë i njoh shumë mirë . Si shoqëruese e gjuhës më motivon mua veçanërisht të jem pranë Grave refugjate, sepse unë e di nga përvoja ime personale që këta „Gurë“ janë për gratë veçanërisht të mëdhenj . Për mua do të thotë, të jesh shoqëruese Vullnetare e gjuhës, të mbështesësh njerëzit si unë, të cilët janë detyruar të arratisen dhe në këtë mënyrë të marr pjesë aktivisht në procesin e integrimit. Përveq kësaj, unë si një Grua, si Nënë, e cila vet është e prekur dhe se me mund ballafaqon jetën, e ndiej veten më mirë kur në një mënyrë mund ti ndihmoj Gratë dhe Fëmijët tjerë.

From my personal history, I know what it means to leave one’s country and how difficult it can be to build a new life in Germany for oneself and one’s family from scratch. Also, I know all too well the „stones“ that lie on your path, which arise from language barriers over and over again. As a volunteer of translation, it motivates me especially that I can support female refugees, because I know from my personal experience that the „stones“ for women are especially large-sized. To me voluntary translation means to support people who also had to flee by actively participating in their integration process. Having a refugee history myself, it gives me a lot of strength to stay strong for me and my family.

Ana:

Ja se osećam dužna da pratim narod koji bi mogao još da pristigne u Nemačku. Jer pratiti znači, da između njih i drugima, ja mogu prenositi njihove želje, pitanja i intrese, koje jos samostalno nemogu da formulisu tj. da izraze (na nemačkom jeziku).
Oni moraju biti konačno saslušani.

They must be heard. I consider it a duty for me to accompany the people who have not arrived in Germany yet. Accompaniment means that I can comunicate between „other“ and them and their desires and thus express issues and interests, which they themselves can not formulate. After all, they must be heard.