AI translation is jeopardizing Afghan asylum claims

Cost-cutting translations are introducing errors and putting refugees at risk.


“….[Machine translation] doesn’t have a cultural awareness. Especially if you’re doing things like a personal statement that’s handwritten by someone,” Damian Harris-Hernandez, co-founder of the Refugee Translation Project, told Rest of World. “The person might not be perfect at writing, and also might use metaphors, might use idioms, turns of phrases that if you take literally, don’t make any sense at all.”

Based in New York, the Refugee Translation Project works extensively with Afghan refugees, translating police reports, news clippings, and personal testimonies to bolster claims that asylum seekers have a credible fear of persecution. When machine translation is used to draft these documents, cultural blind spots and failures to understand regional colloquialisms can introduce inaccuracies. These errors can compromise claims in the rigorous review so many Afghan refugees experience…” Read full article here.