Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Germany’s Interpreter Crisis Gets National Media Attention

“Translation does not get any more important than this. Germany, which is coping with an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants, is processing thousands of asylum applications every day. A key part of the application process is a personal interview with an official at Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The interview is conducted by a BAMF “decider”, as these officials are called, and it decides if an applicant’s request for asylum is accepted or rejected. However, as one of the deciders frankly put it in an article published on November 27, 2015 for German daily “Die Welt”, “without an interpreter, we can’t do anything”.

With the coverage in Die Welt the acute shortage of qualified interpreters in Germany has reached national headlines.”

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Languages do matter!


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