Limerick company offers free translation services for refugees arriving from Ukraine

A LIMERICK company is donating its technology and language services to help those affected by the current crisis in Ukraine.

Translit, a language service provider based in Upper Mallow Street in the city of Limerick, plans to help refugees arriving on these shores after fleeing Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.

The company – founded by Alex Chernenko, himself a Ukrainian national – is donating its interpreting technology which will be used to help refugees.

Alex was born in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which came under heavy fire from Russian forces last week, and is therefore determined to help.

“I have friends and family in Ukraine who are directly affected by this and I hear their horrific stories every day,” Chernenko said. “A woman who works with me, she has bombs going off next to her and seven times a day she leaves her office and goes down to the bunker.

“It’s not just what I read on the news, I’m talking to someone and I hear sirens in the background before they hang up. They return two hours later after spending time in the bunker. Ukraine is my country of origin and now I see cities destroyed, people who lived there have to flee and leave their homes because they don’t feel safe. I can’t understand it, but my team and I will do whatever we can to help,” he added.

Already, more than two million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighboring Poland, Romania and Moldova in the first fortnight since the invasion by forces led by Vladimir Putin.

Mr Chernenko came to Ireland from Ukraine in 2003 and knows how important it is to access language services, with Translit also offering non-profit document translation, among other services.

“We are extending our assistance to refugees who cannot access the language services they need, and we will make our remote interpreting technology available to various government agencies and organizations,” the businessman added.

“A few years after I arrived in Ireland, we saw an influx of immigrants when the EU enlarged, which showed that there was a huge lack of resources – Ireland was not ready. This will likely mean another disruption to services, and having worked on the front line as an interpreter the last time around, I know how we can help make it easier for refugees to stay here in Ireland.

He acknowledged that refugees arriving on these shores are stressed and frustrated, and urged the government and non-governmental organizations to ensure they are a reliable partner for the company.

“It works both ways,” Mr. Chernenko said.

Connie A. Bailey