What We Do

The Refugee Translation Project provides free professional translation support to people seeking asylum and other immigration relief, translates information to help displaced persons access vital resources, and offers employment opportunities to asylees, so that refugees[1] can transition to a life of safety and security.

Translation plays a crucial role in an immigration application because it is the only mechanism by which a displaced person can convey their experiences fully and accurately to a court or immigration officer. Without access to translation, a person’s application cannot be processed, or their case may be rejected – oftentimes with life-or-death consequences.

Unfortunately, most of the people we serve cannot afford the high cost of translation. Providing evidence of persecution and other criteria for refugee and special immigrant status is key to successful outcomes. By providing this service free of charge to individuals, we ensure that applicants go into the immigration process with every piece of evidence they have, including medical records, identity papers, court documents, death threats, and personal statements. We also provide interpretation services for intake interviews and to prepare testimony.

Our Impact

Since we began in May 2017, we have provided services to over 450 cases for families and individuals from Afghanistan, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Republic of Congo, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen by translating documents related to asylum, resettlement, and other immigration procedures.

We have taken on 90 pro bono US asylum cases in which the Refugee Translation Project has covered the entire cost of translation. 77% of these cases have yielded successful outcomes, while 19% are still pending, and 4% are unknown.

We have translated over 350 pages of orientation materials to help bring Afghan and Ukrainian families to safety, as well as dozens of other orientation materials into Arabic, Spanish, French, and other languages to help refugees and immigrants access legal, health, and other resources.  

We have provided interpretation services to legal clinics run by partner organizations, which have helped hundreds of people get free legal advice.

We have provided work for 7 displaced or formerly displaced people.

Our Services

We provide fast, professional translations of documents related to asylum and other immigration cases to clients and partners remotely. We translate personal statements, medical records, identity papers, court documents, police reports, proof of online harassment, threatening letters, bank statements, newspaper articles and other evidence necessary to win asylum and resettlement cases. RTP also offers remote interpretation services by phone or video conference domestically and internationally.

Our language capacity continues to expand in order to accommodate needs as they arise.

We partner with nonprofit service providers and law firms to provide translation services to their clients. We also collaborate with nonprofits to translate crucial resources and resource guides to help refugees and immigrants access legal, health, and other services.

Individuals in need of our services can contact us directly via email to receive our services at no charge and get access to a built-in network for trusted referrals should the refugee need further legal or social services. Our innovative funding model optimizes available resources to ensure no asylum applicant RTP works with ever has to pay for any part of translation.

We Value Hiring Refugees as Translators

Refugees often have dual language skills and relevant professional experience, as well as lived experience, making them uniquely qualified, yet they lack access to professional pathways to develop their careers. RTP steps in at this juncture to provide employment, supervision of translations, and capacity building to help multilingual refugees build their careers.  Their skills and lived experience mean increased familiarity and competency with the materials we are translating, which contributes to the overall effectiveness of our organization. Our fair and competitive rate provides a source of income while empowering refugees to help others in their community or situation.

The Refugee Translation Project is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

[1] We use the term refugee here as a shorthand to refer to a person who has been forced to leave their country and cannot return to their due to war, persecution or disaster, including, but not limited to, asylum seekers, TPS applicants, and people who fit the legal definition of “refugee.”