Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)– Khadijo Abdulkadir launched her interpretation business about six months ago after winning a $175,000 competitive grant from Onondaga County. Abdulkadir’s main aim is helping refugees and immigrants understand important English documents. Abdulkadir was once in this position, as a Refugee born in Somalia, when coming into the U.S. almost ten years ago she faced significant language barriers.
“I did not how to choose classes for my schedules, I had to ask my friends at school help me navigate all of this,” said Abdulkadir. “And as soon as I learned a little English, I was translating for my mom.”
Empower Interpretations Services of CNY offers translations services in 20 languages with 20 interpreters available, including two of her sisters. Interpreters can help refugees face-to-face, online chat, or in person.
Under the slogan “We speak your language” many of the translators of Empower Interpretation Services of CNY are refugees or immigrants as well. All interpreters went through 40 hours of training in order to become certified.
“We have landlords, hospitals, schools that didn’t speak our language, so English became my one and only priority,” Abdulkadir said.
Abdulkadir and her interpreters make sure their clients know what documents they are signing or what medication they are receiving at hospitals. As part of this service, clients will not have to pay for the interpreter’s services. Instead, the paying customers will be schools, hospitals, or government offices that hire interpreters for the refugees who need translation services.
Abdulkadir is an International Relations senior student at Syracuse University and plans to keep expanding the languages offered in her business, including some unique dialects within countries.