Posted: 03 February 2017

Microsoft Translator: an innovative way to support child refugees

Microsoft’s new Translator app helps ease the language barrier facing vulnerable young migrant and refugee children in our services.

The need for translation services

We use telephone and face-to-face interpreting regularly within our Refugee and Migrant services.

This is an essential part of ensuring we provide a high quality service, that we understand young people and support them to understand the complex legal processes and systems they are faced within the UK.

Despite it being essential, interpreting is costly, time consuming and young people sometimes find it difficult disclosing sensitive information, such as abuse, to third party interpreters. 


You can help child refugees

Find out more about our work with child refugees and what you can do to help

Thankfully, Microsoft’s new Translator app may just be the solution we’ve been looking for.

Usage of Microsoft Translator

The app is both intuitive and innovative. Its versatility allows you to type or speak in to it, as well as take photos of written text to convert into another language.

'Microsoft Translator opens a new world of communication for people, no matter what language they speak.

Working with The Children’s Society has demonstrated how Translator can be deployed quickly to frontline services to help refugees and migrants.' - Olivier Fontana, Director of Product Startegy, Microsoft AI and Research

Our practitioner, James recently used the app for the first time with a young refugee from Vietnam:     

‘The photographic option in particular could be really helpful when translating legal documents, essential paperwork or the written resources we provide to young people’

It can translate complex words, which existing apps have previously struggled with, and is an incredible aid in helping us fully understand the children in our services - making it easier for us to help them access their rights and entitlements in the UK.

Future usage of Microsoft Translator

Whilst it is unlikely that machine based translation services will ever fully replace the need for human interpreters, we are very keen to start using Microsoft Translator more widely within our Refugee and Migrant services where appropriate.

Learn more about other nonprofit offers from Microsoft, including technology discounts and donations.


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Arif's story, a child refugee

Posted: 8 December 2016


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Our history with child refugees

Posted: 19 December 2016


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All aboard

Posted: 31 January 2017