Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps

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Region of impact
Crisis Response


Helping NGOs and aid workers translate critical information for refugees through an open-sourced app

What they do

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. Working in more than 40 countries around the world, Mercy Corps believes that communities are the best agents of their own change and local markets are the best engines of long-term recovery. When disaster or emergency strikes, Mercy Corps puts bold solutions into action, helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.

Mercy Corps receives support from organizations like Google and others to develop effective solutions to aid challenges. An example was during the European Refugee Crisis where Mercy Corps was responding to the needs of thousands of refugees traveling through Greece. A Google volunteer witnessed a Mercy Corps team member struggling to convey critical information to refugees because of language barriers and realized that a product that offered reliable translation assistance could help.

How we're helping

Translation Cards is an open source Android app that helps field workers and refugees communicate more effectively and confidently. With the help of Google volunteers, Mercy Corps partnered with ThoughtWorks and UNHCR to create the app. Translation Cards users can simply tap-and-play a flashcard for audio translations, allowing doctors, aid workers, and volunteers to communicate basic phrases in a listener’s native tongue. Cards can be pre-recorded or created on the fly, allowing for nimble exchanges. Moreover, the app does not run on a network, eliminating the need for an Internet connection. Besides conveying important information, the app also puts the ‘human’ back into humanitarian work by affording a one-on-one, personalized exchange.

Project gallery

Field workers pose with three refugee children in the doorway of a temporary shelter.
A Mercy Corps field worker consults a map while communicating with refugees.
A Mercy Corps field worker embraces two refugee children.
A Mercy Corps field worker holds a smartphone while using the Translation Cards Android app.


Translation Cards Open Source Project



Translation Cards: Increasing two-way communication with refugees on the move in Europe.


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