Respond Crisis Translation has been an integral part of Sanctuary for Families over the past two years. A member of the Respond Crisis Translation team contacted Sanctuary’s Volunteer Program team proposing a partnership to ensure language access for linguistically-diverse clients. From the beginning, it was clear that our organizations had common goals and deep alignment. Respond Crisis Translation chose Sanctuary for Families as their first partner to pilot their hope of survivors having pro bono access to interpreters and translators. They have worked with Sanctuary in myriad ways such as translating legal evidence for asylum-seeking domestic violence survivors and oral interpreting in psychological and emotional support sessions.
Respond Crisis Translation is a collective of around 2,000 language activists providing support in over 100 languages. There are many translators in their network who are deeply committed to gender justice and are particularly passionate about supporting victims and survivors of gender-based violence who seek safety, freedom, and asylum. The Respond Crisis Translation team notes, “We wanted to work with SFF because they are leading on the frontlines of supporting survivors across New York. For survivors who are also linguistic minorities, we know that Anglocentrism, language violence, and language exclusionism create yet another layer of complexity and often make access to resources and justice close to impossible.” Respond Crisis Translation’s understanding of this complexity has been integral for many of our clients gaining justice and freedom from the violence and barriers they experience.
During the pandemic, Respond Crisis Translation has been essential in helping Sanctuary share our Safety Planning Guide far and wide. Volunteers translated the plan into seven languages so that it could be distributed widely across New York City and beyond. This guide was imperative for victims of domestic violence currently living with their abusers during the stay-at-home order and provided steps to take in case of an emergency. It was critical to have this translated into numerous languages in order to reach a wide breadth of victims and survivors.
When thinking about the longstanding partnership, Jessica Francois, Manager of Volunteer Relations says, “The last thing we want a client to worry about is telling their story in a language that isn’t the most comfortable for them. Respond has been able to deliver quality translations frequently used in court, providing an essential gateway to getting our clients the safety they need. Offering translation allows for survivors to feel supported, heard, and cared for. Respond Crisis Translation are our team members in this effort.”
More importantly, Respond Crisis Translation now provides its services to many organizations throughout the United States. They understand and provide a service of language access to those who are the most in need. “There is a huge language access crisis in this country: all too often, refugees and those dealing with trauma who don’t speak English lack access to critical information because it has simply not been made available in the languages they speak. At the same time, these folks are often forced to navigate immigration, legal, medical, and other governmental systems that are not accommodating to non-English speakers. All too often, when these systems DO provide interpretation, the quality is subpar and the interpreters are not trauma-informed or versed in the language of gender and LGBTQ+ justice. This creates additional layers of trauma and re-victimization. At Respond Crisis Translation, our interpreters are passionate about justice for survivors and committed to providing trauma-informed, high-quality interpreting that not only creates basic access but also creates safety and healing. We are proud to be able to fill in this critical need for Sanctuary clients”, says the Respond team.
“Language access, freedom of mobility, and physical and emotional safety are all basic human rights. Language justice is a feminist issue, is a queer issue, and is a basic human rights issue. We are grateful for the opportunity to work at these intersections in collaboration with Sanctuary for Families.”
We, too, are grateful to our team members at Respond Crisis Translations. We thank them for their amazing commitment to Sanctuary’s staff and clients, and their impact reaches well beyond what can be captured in words.
To learn more about Respond Crisis Translation and their work, please join us on June 17th from 6:30pm -7:00pm at our virtual Pillars of Change.