Made at UCL


Translating in a crisis

Research from UCL helps representatives from multilingual communities become citizen translators in disaster, conflict and crisis situations.

crisis situation

Where a community is multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, being able to communicate in many languages in a crisis is becoming vital to ensuring as many people as possible are kept informed and remain safe.

Translators and interpreters can play a crucial role in supporting the activities of responders involved in crisis communication scenarios. But the standard training materials and technologies that established translators and interpreters use are of little help to the hastily recruited ‘citizen translators’ in refugee camps or disaster zones.
As a result, Dr Federico M. Federici (UCL Translation Studies) and Dr Patrick Cadwell (Dublin City University) were asked to help the New Zealand Red Cross — as part of the EU-funded International Network on Crisis Translation (INTERACT) — to improve information and streamline training for citizen translators.
UCL, along with members of the INTERACT team from Dublin City University, developed training materials that enable speakers of more than one language to make information accessible in crisis scenarios to people who don’t speak the main language. These materials have been used to train ‘citizen translators’ in a series of workshops organized by the New Zealand Red Cross. 
Representatives from multilingual communities can now quickly transition to citizen translators and be the eyes, ears and voices of their neighbourhoods during the most difficult of times.


EU flag
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 734211.