Translators as frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic

29 Jul 2021 Article

Translators as frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact on the world and putting Translators as frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. Many people have lost their lives with some families losing multiple relatives in a short span. The pandemic has caused panic across the world both in developed and developing nations.

Translators and other language practitioners such as, interpreters, proofreaders, editors, voice over artists and other language practitioners have a pertinent role to play in bringing Covid-19 pandemic to an end. This is because they are the informers of the world through their professional practice of translating messages in different languages for community awareness.  However, their work appears to have been neglected and so practicing as a translator during the Covid-19 pandemic is an ultimate test to the industry.

As many organizations grapple with the impact of the novel covid-19, it has directly had an impact in the industry. Many translators and other language practitioners have been rendered jobless yet they should be utilized as front line workers in the fight.

However, in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, better knowledge of the virus, how it spreads (given it’s a highly contagious disease) and prevention is key and should form part of public policy. To inform the public, various partners ought have to have had massive translation of the messages in different languages in order that the target audience are able to comprehend the so called standard operating procedures in their tongue. Instead of making translators redundant, this would be the best time to utilize their expertise and treat them as essential frontline workers in the fight against the pandemic

In Africa for instance, there is a misconception among some communities that Covid-19 is for the elite class. This is attributed to the fact that when the virus first broke out, it was mostly travelers who contracted it from one location to the other. In the short run however, there began massive community infections which has constituted untold suffering in communities with many health crippled.

Governments as a result of pressure and panic opted to impose lockdown and curfew with the so called standard operating procedures. The lockdown in countries such as Uganda were implemented at immediate without prior information or warning. The end result was starvation in families and increased criminality as people grappled with inadequate food supplies.  The security forces in the bid to impose curfew and presidential directives participated in the killing of citizens. Despite the above, there was scanty awareness of the situation especially in rural areas where few people have access to televisions and radios.

Moreover, the standard operation procedures issued by the health  ministry predominantly remained in English language, the official language in a country where majority of the population more so in rural areas do not understand English language. Hiring services of a professional translation agency would have been a better choice in creating massive awareness and prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic through translation of the prevention campaign in different languages. When people access information in their tongue, you can be sure of better understanding of the facts.



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