The United Kingdom has committed to taking in up to 20,000 Afghan refugees facing threats from the Taliban.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the past 20 years. Many of them, especially women, now urgently need our help," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Five thousand Afghans will be eligible for the programme during its first year, with priority given to those "threatened by the current crisis,” in particular women, girls and religious minorities, Johnson announced.

The Need for Language Support
With resettlement comes demand on the National Health Service, Local Government and other organisations to deliver additional interpretation and translation support.   To illustrate this, we have received numerous calls the past several days enquiring about our ability to provide language support to Afghan refugees.

With a resource developed over many years, LanguageLine is pleased to provide telephone interpreting of the spoken word and translation of the written word in many of the languages spoken in Afghanistan, including Pashto, Dari, Uzbek, Turkmen and Urdu. 

We recommend contacting your LanguageLine Account Manager to confirm the availability of resources.

Tips for Assisting with Afghan Languages
The languages spoken in Afghanistan are nuanced. Here is a little bit of information that may help you understand these subtleties.

Dari is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. It is also known as “Afghan Persian” and “Eastern Farsi.” It is important to note that Farsi (also referred to as “Persian”) is the official language of Iran, and while they are dialects of the same language, they are very different when spoken.

Dialects of Dari: Tangshew (Tangshuri) and Darwazi.  (Callers should simply request “Dari.”)
If the caller selects Afghan Persian, Eastern Persian, or Afghanistan when using the LanguageLine mobile application, Dari will be returned as a choice. 

Pashto is the other official language of Afghanistan. Because Dari is the language of business and higher education in Afghanistan, Pashtuns often learn Dari. Very few Dari speakers have a good command of Pashto.

Southern Pashto is also referred to as “Afghan Pashto,” “Kandahari Pashto,” “Qandahari Pashto,” and “Southwestern Pashto.”  There are speakers of Northern Pashto (of Pakistan) who reside in Afghanistan. 

When using the LanguageLine mobile application, the client can type in: Afghan, Pakhtoo, Paktu, Pashtu, Pushto, Pushtu, Afghanistan or United Arab Emirates.  All are aliases for Pashto and will return Pashto as a result.

Uzbek from Afghanistan and Uzbek from Uzbekistan are not the same. While there are similarities, we staff with speakers from both areas. 

Southern Uzbek is the variation spoken in Afghanistan.  Northern Uzbek is the one from Uzbekistan.

In addition to Afghanistan, Urdu and Punjabi are also spoken in Pakistan and India.

LanguageLine Can Help
LanguageLine has provided similar support during resettlement after conflicts in Iraq, the Balkans, Somalia, Rwanda, Myanmar, and others. This includes the difficult job of interpreting for individuals who have lived through traumatic events or who are unfamiliar with culture in the UK. These are precisely the times when interpreting skills are most needed.

Please contact your LanguageLine representative for more information. If you are not currently a LanguageLine client, we would be delighted to have a conversation about your specific needs. Please contact us through our website or call 0800 169 2879.