The Project

The Refugee Translation Project provides free, professional translation services for refugees seeking asylum in the New York metro area, as well as for refugees living in camps and other precarious situations in Turkey. We offer English translations of asylum statements and supporting documents originally written in Arabic, French, German, Greek, Kurdish, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. We can also translate from these languages into English. Our list of languages continues to expand in order to accommodate needs as they arise.

We serve refugees who have fled their countries under threat of imprisonment, torture, and even death. Those who make it to the New York area and wish to stay here must apply for asylum, which involves convincing the court that they are being persecuted in their home country and cannot be sent back for fear of further persecution or death.

One of the most important factors for asylum seekers is that they can fully convey their stories to their lawyers and to the courts. These stories, written as statements, and the material evidence to back them up, are crucial to the refugees’ success. Both the statements and the evidence, which could be anything from identification papers, medical reports, and court documents, to threatening letters, tax penalty notices, bank statements, and newspaper articles, need to be translated.

Unfortunately, many of these people have lost almost everything they own and cannot afford to pay for the speedy translation of these important documents. To ease the burden, the Refugee Translation Project offers these professional translation services for free so that refugees can focus their limited resources on making a new home.

We work with IRAP (International Refugee Assistance Project) to connect with and assist refugees still living in refugee camps and other precarious situations. IRAP uses the medical reports and legal documents we translate to determine refugees’ eligibility for various resettlement pathways. To date, we have assisted IRAP with at least 22 successful cases of exceptional medical vulnerability, which have resulted in the resettlement of 77 individuals.

Since we began in May 2017, we have helped over 200 families and individuals from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Cameroon, Sudan, Eritrea, Central African Republic, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

So far at least 10 families and individuals we supported have been granted asylum in the United States. The asylum process is a long and arduous one that can take up to a year or longer. We expect to hear more success stories as the project continues.

We raised $30,721 in our ten fundraising campaigns. Our current campaign, which ends on September 21, 2020 has a modest goal of raising another $2,000.

Where does the money go?

About 92% of the total funds we raise goes towards paying our professional translators, who work on a contractor basis. 5% goes towards ioby’s fiscal sponsorship fee, 3% goes towards ioby’s donation processing fee, and $15 per campaign goes to ioby’s platform fee. We also pay $4 a month for this website. The rest of the funds goes towards paying our translators.