Providing Healthcare in Refugee Camps

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Unfortunately, because there was no Farsi-speaking translator available, the patient was forced to return home without any help or medication.

At one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece an English-speaking doctor made his rounds. His next patient was a Farsi-speaking man who was in severe pain. The doctor, who did not speak Farsi, was unable to communicate with the patient directly nor reach an on-the-ground-translator. He had a difficult decision to make: ask the ailing patient to wait in a long queue or use the Tarjimly app. As he opted to use the Tarjimly app, he was surprised to see that he was immediately connected to a Farsi-speaking volunteer on an internet call. Through the interpretation of the interpreter,, the doctor discovered that the patient suffered from severe kidney and stomach pain due to kidney stones. With this information on hand, the doctor quickly searched for the patient’s medical history. He found that the man had an appointment at another clinic scheduled earlier in the day to seek medical care for the same pain. The doctor was confused as to why the man was at the clinic right now if he had already seen a doctor in the morning. Through the interpreter, the doctor asked the patient if he had gone to his previous appointment, only to learn that he had indeed checked in for his appointment at the first clinic, but was turned away due to the unavailability of Farsi-speaking interpreters. With the Tarjimly interpreter’s help, the patient was able to describe his symptoms, answer relevant questions, receive information on next steps and what to expect (including tests and treatment). Thanks to the Tarjimly interpreter and the care of the doctor, the patient was on the road to recovery.


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This isn't the story of one doctor or one refugee. Thousands of vulnerable individuals and families are left without care due to language barriers. When an aid worker's lack of ability to communicate hinders their ability to accommodate and assist refugees, an organization's ability to impact real change is limited. Tarjimly is here to bridge that divide, and to provide on-demand translation services for aid workers, whenever and where ever they may be.