Syria mother child refugeeSyria mother child refugeeSyria mother child refugeeSyria mother child refugee

Volunteer Your Language Skills from Home

Although “International Day of Living Together in Peace” (yup, that’s the official name) has already come and gone this year (May 16th), volunteering is still an important way to help cultural understanding and integration. In fact, at Tandem, we wholeheartedly believe in volunteering, regardless of whether it’s an international holiday or just your average Wednesday afternoon.

Volunteer work is one of life's most rewarding, enriching experiences. It can be valuable for your personal growth, well-being, and even your career. If you’re ready to join the thousands of volunteer sessions completed by Tandem members, make a difference, and be part of a community, you’ve come to the right place. Become a volunteer in language learning with Tarjimly and have an intercultural experience, all while helping someone in need!

A Quick Overview of How Tandem Members Can Help

If you’re anxiously awaiting more information on how you can help, here’s a quick rundown. Tandem has been working with Tarjimly, a global translator community, for about three years. Tarjimly aims to provide translation services to refugees, asylum seekers, and humanitarian workers in need. Tandem helps spread the word about Tarjimly while recruiting more volunteers. Since we have a huge community of people who are generous with their language knowledge and time, it makes for a great partnership.

Thanks to our amazing community, Tandem volunteers have signed up to Tarjimly from 131 different countries. Those who have signed up have been able to provide 6,209 translation or interpretation assistance sessions. Although the current communities in focus are Ukrainian refugees and Afghan refugees, Tandem volunteers have helped translate or interpret in 57 languages.

Language Access for Refugees and Humanitarians

We’re proud of our volunteers and want to encourage even more people to sign up as translators to continue assisting those in need. This article will continue to provide more information about Tarjimly, Tandem, and how you can make a difference volunteering today.

The All Too Familiar Feeling... From a Different Perspective

If you’ve ever lived abroad in a country where you didn’t speak the local language well—or at all—then you know how difficult it can be to do the simplest things. Suddenly going to the grocery store becomes an ordeal. By the end of the day, you’re mentally exhausted.

Once the novelty of the new experience wears off, you begin to feel the frustration and isolation of being unable to express yourself fully. Instead, you come off as a simplistic, superficial thinker with a flat personality. At times, you want to scream, “I’m complex, interesting, and smart in my native language!”.

Imagine if leaving your home country was not a choice but rather, a matter of survival. There would be no excitement to wear off. You would be left with the anxious feeling of navigating a surrounding with few resources and without the ability to communicate. You couldn’t shake the feeling that people saw you as simple, less educated, and less capable, all because you could not speak their language.

This is the experience most refugees and immigrants face. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the current wars have left many feeling powerless, not knowing what to do or how to help from the confines of their homes. I’m here to tell you that there is something YOU can do!


A Solution Was Born

Tarjimly is a technology non-profit with a mobile app that trains and connects volunteer translators/interpreters with humanitarian organizations, immigrants, and refugees to provide on-demand translation. It all started in 2017 as a response to the Syrian refugee crisis. While volunteering to help refugees, co-founders Atif Javed and Aziz Alghunaim witnessed how thousands of refugees and NGOs struggled with language barriers - even in life-and-death situations. As a result, Tarjimly was founded with a mission to eliminate humanitarian language barriers.

Tarjimly currently provides free interpretation and translation services in 60+ languages by over 50,000 volunteer translators serving 29000+ beneficiaries. Thus far, Tarjimly has been able to help refugees and immigrants globally access services, creating countless impactful stories.


Use Your Language Skills for Good

Through volunteering with Tarjimly, not only will you be putting the language skills you’ve developed over the years to good use, but you’ll also have an intercultural experience by connecting with native speakers, all from the comfort of your couch.

The process is easy, flexible, and rewarding. If you speak a language at an intermediate level or higher and feel comfortable translating or interpreting, sign up to volunteer by following these simple steps:

  1. Go to this link on your mobile browser
  2. Select "translator"
  3. Fill out the form to create a username and password
  4. Download the app
  5. Log in using the username and password just created
  6. Accept permissions
  7. Carefully read through and agree to Code of Conduct
  8. Verify Email
  9. Wait for requests


How It Works

When someone requests your language expertise, you’ll receive a ping on your phone. You can choose to accept or reject the request. If you accept the request, you’ll be connected to a chat with the person in need, where you can text, send images and voice notes, or make an internet call for interpretation.

The more sessions you accept, and the higher ratings you receive, the more likely you’ll be pinged in the future. The app will also provide some training modules that you can take to learn more about ethical interpretation and best practices.

The frequency of requests received depends on the demand for the languages you speak and the number of volunteers for that language pairing. If you don’t receive requests right away, don’t fret!


Rare Languages/Language Pairings

Tarjimly would love volunteers of all languages, but some languages are more in need than others. Currently, the main languages they need volunteers for include:

  • Amharic
  • Burmese
  • Chuukese (sometimes written as “Trukese”)
  • Dari
  • Haitian Creole
  • Khmer
  • Kosraean
  • Marshallese
  • Palauan
  • Pashto
  • Pohnpeian
  • Rohingya
  • Somali
  • Tagalog
  • Tigrinya
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese

They’re also actively looking for volunteers who speak any of the following languages:

  • Bengali
  • Chewa
  • Ghari
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Hmong
  • Karen
  • Kazakh
  • Kinyarwanda
  • Kirundi
  • Kunama
  • Kurdish Kurmanji
  • Kurdish Sorani
  • Kyrgyz
  • K’iche
  • Lao
  • Malagasy
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Mam
  • Nepali
  • Shona
  • Sundanese
  • Uyghur
  • Xhosa
  • Zapotec

Your rare language skills could save the world!

Volunteer with Tarjimly to serve as a remote translator for refugees, asylum seekers, or humanitarian workers.