The Linguist

The Linguist 55,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 9 of 35 MIGRANT CRISIS EASING TENSIONS Refugees arrive on Lesbos, Greece; most have mobile phones (main); and (top right) hundreds wait at Keleti station in Budapest, Hungary The creators of the InfoAid app saw a desperate need – communication – and set about creating a solution. The app now supports thousands of new arrivals. Miranda Moore investigates On 20 August 2015, a lorry containing the bodies of 71 people fleeing the war in Syria was found on an Austrian motorway. The tragedy drew global attention to the dangers refugees face at the hands of smugglers. Like so many, Nina Kov saw news of their plight unfold on TV. While others watched in horror, she responded by creating an app that she hoped would help people to avoid smugglers. "My husband [Kristof Deák] and I were so shocked and we wanted to do something," Kov explains. The app provides vital information for refugees taking the Balkan route, including how to follow procedures in the camps, where to find a doctor, and details of transport links and timetables. As a member of the Facebook group Migration Aid, a volunteer initiative helping migrants in Hungary, Kov had been helping at the transit zones at Keleti and Kobanya train stations in Budapest. "I saw a situation that really needed communication and we soon realised what we needed to do." Enlisting the help of their friends Tamas Nepusz, a software developer in Budapest, and Enys Mones, a physicist with some knowledge of coding, they created the InfoAid app in just two days. "It was an urgent response to a really urgent situation. The main aim is to preserve human life," says Kov. "There was a real lack of communication from the Hungarian government that was causing a lot of unnecessary suffering. It was changing its policy almost on an hourly basis. There were a lot of rumours, confusion and panic." The situation wasn't helped when, on 3 September, migrants headed for Austria were removed from a train by riot police attempting to take them to the nearby refugee camp in Bicske. The lack of communication in the camps was clearly increasing tensions, with dramatic scenes of people charging the barriers. Kov recalls one incident on 16 September in Röszke: 2,000 frustrated and scared people clashed with police while one interpreter with a loudspeaker attempted to calm the situation. It received a lot of media attention, "fostering the 'hoards at our door' rhetoric," says Kov. "It was exactly what the Hungarian government needed at the time." In October, the country closed its border with Croatia. " Translation issues InfoAid had launched in September to ease the situation, and has since been donated to Migration Aid. Veronika Pandi, Migration Aid coordinator, was already looking for volunteer translators at the time, so she joined forces with Kov, who handled the shorter items for the app, while Pandi dealt Information denied

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