Today’s guest feature is from Tobias Buehrs. Most of my guest features are from people who are re-purposing ‘everyday’ technology into disability technology, so it was particularly nice to find someone who was re-purposing disability technology to attack a very different social issue – Joe
European news is currently dominated by reports of thousands of refugees arriving in Europe as their last resort.
Although there are many volunteers doing a great job 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the language barrier is often significant.
Inspired by a post in a German communication aid forum from a user trying to use a feature in our product Boardmaker 6. Boardmaker 6 gives the option to create bilingual boards in up to 44 languages. Boardmaker can search in one language and will return a field with two languages (e.g. Arabic and English) and in addition a symbol to support understanding also for pre-literate people.
And so I discussed with my colleagues the idea of producing a translation board that might make a difference in the refugee crises.
After a quick round of brainstorming what should be on it, the first refugee communication board was born. It contains a rating scale and important questions refugees could have.
My colleagues and I can’t, read Arabic, so we took the advantage working in an international company like Tobii Dynavox and found several colleagues who were able to support us in doing a quick review of the boards.
We shared those boards on Facebook and the feedback from several groups supporting refugees the positive feedback was fantastic. This seems to have a great impact on the daily work with refugees.
But this was only the beginning. A few days after the first post we got the request from several institutions like a local Red Cross institution and private person all over Europe if it is possible creating additional communication boards in other languages.
And so until now our website lists 13 boards not only translations in Arabic, Farsi and Albania were added as language too. If you are missing a language on that page please feel free to contact us on our website www.tobiidynavox.com