When 19-year-old Iraqi refugee Maher Murad went to see a doctor at his shelter in Hamburg, he didn’t get very far. Maher doesn’t speak German yet, and his doctor doesn’t speak Arabic.
It is estimated that Hamburg, a city of 1.8 million, will accept 60,000 refugees in 2015/2016. These new arrivals will have to resort to hand gestures and broken English when they visit physicians who don’t speak Arabic, Farsi or Pashto commonly spoken by refugee patients.
It’s just one of a myriad of problems that refugees face, but one that two friends were determined to solve. Harald Neidhardt, CEO of Hamburg-based innovation agency MLOVE, and Mirko Bass, business development manager at Cisco Systems, set out to develop a live video translation system that would enable doctors in Germany to treat asylum seekers arriving in their city. Read more