Welcome to Refugee Phrasebook: Together we are building an open collection of useful words and phrases for refugees who just arrived.
collective of volunteers based in Berlin and all around the world. Before we can continue with design and printing, we need your support to complete these translations:
- Refugee Phrasebook, short version
currently 192 items in >30 languages (and counting)
- Refugee Phrasebook (orientation / multipurpose)
currently >561 items in >30 languages, ca. 70% translated
- Medical Phrasebook
currently 150 items in 28 languages, ca. 80% translated
- Juridical Phrasebook (just started)
currently looking for lawyers to contribute
Please close the browser window if you are not currently working on it, and check back later if you have trouble getting access. Thanks!
Refugee Phrasebook is an open data project. While the first collection of phrases was still limited to a closed document with a narrow use case, volunteers quickly migrated the data to an open table in Google Sheets and significantly increased the number of participants with their network. This step also emphasized a commitment to transparency and openness by publishing the data with a Creative Commons license (CC0), freely reuseable for refugee aid projects everywhere. With this website, we coordinate print versions from publicly available data and enable helpers to create their own version.
There already is an online version on wikibooks (preview here) and several printable versions.
At the moment we focus on design and printing the translations. Luckily, there is already plenty of support in most languages. Please contact your local refugee initiative, grab a copy or design your own, print and destribute.
Great idea 🙂
Many thanks for the nice initiative. I can help in translation between English and Arabic if this would be helpful.
thank you, arabic is already quite present – please use the comment function to improve existing translations. Also there is a translators group on facebook, feel free to join! https://www.facebook.com/groups/686995674769009/
same idea – maybe you can use some input: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IpkETNzRzletRpLEeLUKAldB2j_O8UJVn1zM_sYg56Y/htmlview?pli=1# seen some days bevore your post.
For the many Rohinga refugees, would be nice to add Burmese (also in the 50 languages) and Thai.
This is a free vocabulary trainer with automatic speech engine. Let’s insert all the words from the phrasebook here so people can learn the phrases and play them to others.
http://www.testler.de (there are also free mobile apps for Android and iOS)
So we are waiting the downloadable version.
Hi, what do you need it for? Do you have any specific set of languages that you need? Some versions are already available on wikibook. Thanks!
I can translate from English to Korean.
Hi Sarah, thank you for the offer! Currently the phrasebook has a bit of a focus on Europe, so Korean isn’t on the spectrum of most-needed languages. However, when we catch up with the unfinished bits that are needed most in Europe, we hope to expand. Let’s stay in touch!
Very nice. Thank you.
This initiative is useful, but lacks a bit of focus. Two questions:
1) Identify the user group. Should refugees use it to communicate with Germans in German (case A)? Or should Germans use it to communicate with refugees in the refugees’ language (case B)? Don’t try to do both in one book (you might want to do two books)
2) is the modality of use to be oral or written? In other words, should the participants speak the words or point to them? This will have a consequence on the inclusion of phonetic transliterations and non-Latin scripts.
– in case A, you should add German phonetic transliteration into Arabic and Cyrillic (e.g. гутен так, جوتن تك for Guten Tag). Do not add phonetic transliteration of Arabic here, as this will serve no purpose and just eat up space
– in case B and oral communication, all the non-Latin scripts are of little help since Germans will not be likely to make sense of আমার বাচ্চাটার অসুখ
– if pointing is to be used, remove all phonetic information and keep all scripts. Add pictograms.
Thank you for the feedback, we are also working on a separate book for helpers. You can find it in a separate sheet in https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IpkETNzRzletRpLEeLUKAldB2j_O8UJVn1zM_sYg56Y/edit#gid=0 . A wikibooks version of this sheet for helpers is in progress as well.
Hello from Rome! I am going to start teaching German to Germany-bound Eritreans and will use your spreadsheet as a resource, thanks for all your work! In return, I may be able to offer input for the Tigrinya (phonetic) column, if you want to add one to the spreadsheet.
that would be very much appreciated. We are working on making editing easier and handling the big load of support requests. If you cannot edit, the doc is overloaded, please try again later.
Thank you, all the best,
Hello I am Basel from Syria and looking for person to teach Germany.
You are not alone. The world is watching and will wake up to help you.
It will be even more helpful to add how each word in French, English, German, etc… is pronounced in Arabic letters.
Thank you, very good idea.
I love this! I will give german lessons to the refugees, so anything like this is helpful. Thank you
Thank you Ulli! That is really great to hear. 🙂
I am willing to teach English and German (until A2) and I am willing to learn Arabic FROM them!
I can translate English to Farsi and vice versa.
What a fantastic idea! I shared this in the Venligboerne community (a refugee wellcoming group) on fb in Copenhagen, Denmark. I hope a lawyer or a skilled translator will pick it up. Thank you for the initiative!
In mehreren Sprachen wurde übersetzt “ich spreche nicht gut_Deutsch_” statt den Namen der Sprache – portugiesisch, griechisch etc – einzufügen.
thank you, this is something to fix in the next version
I can translate from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. I can also translate from German into Spanish.
Yes nice I can tfans late English arbic
If required, I can translate from german to italian; also from spanish to italian
I would be happy to help. My A language is French and I have Spanish and English as passive languages. I can also translate a little into English (B landuage)
Best wishes Claudine
Hi. I can translate English to Spanish.
Hello. I am a lawyer and willing to help – let me know what I can do.
thank you. Please check the Google Doc linked here (left side at “contribute” or follow the icons).
All the best,
I will be happy to translate English-French-English.
Hi Alison, please have a look at the documents (under “contribute” or the icons on the left). Most is already done, but the juridical phrasebook needs work, we just started it.
please consider that there’s a percentage of illiterates, too. Maybe try to include sketch drawings?
If that doesn’t work, it’ll at least help those who can read.
Brilliant idea, either way!
Thank you, very good idea. If you know anyone who can get this going, put us in touch.
Very good idea, we do what we can.
UK group People First produces picture dictionary for people with learning disabilities
I can translate from Greek to English, English to Greek, Greek to Italian, Italian to Greek.
If I can be of any help let me know.
This website is available in 30 languages – might be a reference for refugees who have internet access and want to learn German.
solidarité complètes avec vous
Hi, I like what you do here.
I recently started a page on facebook. There I put pictues and videos from everyday life for people who need to learn German:
I can translate from English into Hungarian.
Just do it