Language mediators’ support for refugees at border crossing points: enhancing societal tools for sustainable communication in multicultural communities of Austria, Germany and Russia

Nataliya M. Belenkova, Irina I. Kruse, Doris Wydra


The contemporary international situation is characterized by the humanitarian crisis and a great wave of refugees. The border point of a host country separates the refugee’s former life full of suffering and pain and the expectations of a new peaceful life. Here a language mediator is considered like a person who can show the refugee a way to the new life. The issue of the language mediation to refugees at border points is the subject matter of this paper. The research papers concerning various aspects of the refugees migration, the UN documents and the various materials on the topic and the practical experience of Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation are examined. The government departments in the countries under study that are responsible for the work and assistance to refugees are stated. The professional activity of a language mediator is viewed from various angles. In the framework of the research a survey on the language mediation activity, the refugee obstacles in border points and the opinions of the language mediators from Austria, Germany and Russia was held. The findings of the survey were generalized and the recommendations to improve the translators/interpreters activity were made. The research is implemented within the framework of the RUDN university participation in the Russia-wide 5-100 project.


language mediation, refugee status, border-crossing point, host country, migration policy

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