Reviewing 2015

Reviewing 2015

With the holidays approaching, we want to thank you all for your support! Since we started this website, >110.000 phrasebooks have been printed, several apps were developed and new languages added. In the next month, we want to foster distribution and update the existing pdf versions in collaboration with refugees and helpers. Here are some impressions from the efforts so far:  (more…)

Customize a print version

When you create a custom print version of the phrasebook, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Before you start, check the existing versions on wikibooks – maybe a print version already exists?
  • Please contact your local refugee initiative in advance, to make sure you produce a booklet that helps an existing need. You’ll need the following information:
    Which languages are required? How many pages can they print? Which sets of phrases do they need (e.g. general orientation / medical / juridical ) ?
  • Office and design software often breaks non-western script, rendering it unreadable. Unfortunately, this is hard to detect if you are unfamiliar with the language. To be on the safe side, please check your test print with a native speaker before you print thousands of copies.
    For a quick impression, you can use the following test for the word “hello”. The Arabic word should look similar to the example in the green field:

test arabic


For further details on conversion, please check the documentation here. If you need support to fund your a local print run, please contact us at .

Workshop and Livestream

With urgent requests from camps in Hungary and Greece, needs your help: Join us this Sunday, September 13, 2015, in Berlin, 16:00 at Wikimedia Deutschland for an open workshop to convert the tables to a booklet for refugees and improve the project. Please join our livestream here (we hosted via Markus personal account so please excuse the profile pic in the preview 🙂 ): 

(13:30-53:00 intro and wikibooks tutorial, and then after 2:42:40 update)

You can also join online, as the Wikibooks workshop will be streamed. We are especially looking for:

  • Anyone confident to work with tables and common Office software
  • Designers to help us figure out more useful layout, a template etc
  • Code-savvy people to find a better export/conversion solutions and improve the website
  • Arabic speakers/readers
  • People who want to help with distribution and printing

If you know someone who wants to help with refugeephrasebook, please invite them as well. Wikimedia e.V. host the workshop free of charge and is not involved in itself. The open workshop part will be streamed for anyone to wants to contribute from afar.

Currently printable versions are based on 3 different tables via wikibooks and Open Office. Anyone can reuse the content. This sunday, we want to produce a book to be printed for the greek island of Kos, where thousands of refugees wait in dire circumstances without basic tools for communication. The phrasebooks will be printed in Berlin and distributed in Kos next week.

Sunday, 13.09.2015 16:00 – ca. 19:30
Wikimedia Deutschland
Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24
10963 Berlin
(close to U Möckernbrücke)


more details soon on in the refugee phrasebook support group at

Thank you!


Welcome to Refugee Phrasebook: Together we are building an open collection of useful words and phrases for refugees who just arrived. The Refugee Phrasebook is a multilingual tool that provides basic useful vocabulary related to the most common immediate needs. (more…)