Translation and Covid

Translation and COVID. At a first glance, they may look totally unrelated, one is a terrible illness and the other is a language service that links countries and cultures. If anything, this pandemic showed us the importance of communication and being able to communicate faster and efficiently and with that came translation.

Reaching out the world

In times of pandemic, things change at a very rapid pace, what is the best now, may be obsolete tomorrow.  We are navigating uncharted waters and we learn as we go. So, that means that in every corner of the world, scientists and medical professionals are dealing with this situation and learning from it as well.  All information gathered about this virus must be passed on quickly, because everyone must be on top of things.  Scientists and medical staff must be aware of all developments, because they need to find the best way to fight this virus, but the general public needs to get all latest information, so they know what to do to protect themselves and their loved ones. If for the scientific community having information in English may be acceptable, it is impossible to think the general public would accept the same standard. So, that means the information must be translated into all languages of the world, so the information can reach out to the entire population.

Reaching out multicultural communities

Even within the same country, translation plays a crucial role in passing on COVID related information effectively.  We live in a multicultural society and, in virtually every country, there will be foreigners at any given time. Some may be tourists, some may be migrants, some may be international students and they all need to get the information as soon as possible. Some may be elderly residents who may struggle with the language. So, once again, you must translate it to reach out to them.

Getting it done

To get this very important job done, Governments must equip themselves with the best possible “tools”, which in this case, means the best possible professionals.

The Australian Government has been criticised by some communities, because of bad quality translations of COVID related material. There were reports of texts that were a mix of two languages, others did not make sense.  After that, the Government has committed to employ professional translators in all COVID related information.

Once again, I have to make the same comment. They wouldn’t employ carpenters to brief them about the best practice with COVID would they? So, why would they settle for anything less, for the case of translation services? It doesn’t make sense.

In any situation, it is important that a translation is accurate and done professionally, but when we talk about a global pandemic and passing the information to all communities efficiently and accurately, I believe it takes important to another level. If we want to fight this virus, we need to equip every citizen with the best information, so we can all fight it together and we can all win it together. Language is an essential part of that success and professional translation is the only way to achieve it.