Although most of the Darfurian refugees in the United States speak Arabic, there are some who only speak tribal languages such as Fur, Zaghawa, or Masalit. Few of those who have recently arrived from Darfur possess sufficient language skills to communicate about complicated issues without an interpreter. It is not easy to find an interpreter who is well-versed in the local Arabic spoken in Sudan or even in the tribal languages mentioned above.
In addition, for Darfurian women seeking to talk about intimate issues, finding the right person to interpret is at times extremely challenging. For example, based on our experience, some women, who are victims of gender-based violence, prefer to discuss their experiences through a female interpreter who they know and who is part of the Darfurian community. However, in other instances, women prefer discussing their experiences through an interpreter who is not familiar to them and who is not from Darfur or even Sudan.
Lack of good interpretation can lead to misunderstandings, misdiagnosis in the health care system, and lack of adequate representation in the administrative and justice systems. Our Network relies on the assistance of reliable translators and interpreters who work with the Marilyn S. Broad Fellow to assist these women.