COVID-19 – A Global Need For Translation

COVID-19 – A Global Need For Translation

The year 2020 has had its ups and downs (mostly downs) for most of the world’s population, the most striking event being, without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic. And while for you, readers, this year may have been an avalanche of overwhelming information and data , for those who don’t speak any of the major international languages it was a time of confusion with little to no international guidance.


To drive this point home, according to Translators Without Borders:

“over half of the world’s population don’t have access to […] information because it’s not available in their language”.


woman in white tank top and blue denim jeans
℗ United Nations

Considering that global efforts to battle the pandemic have largely revolved around lifestyle changes, it is crucial to make sure the same guidelines are being communicated in all countries, in the right language, in the right timeframe.

As a result, this pandemic presents a massive global translation challenge; both linguistically and contextually, in order to convey the core meaning of each guideline beyond cultural boundaries. 

Today, major information providers, such as the John Hopkins Institute or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, provide translated versions of the documents they release in almost all widely spoken languages. As for rarer dialects, linguist associations have launched projects to translate these documents to a larger range of languages. What’s more, new technologies like automated machine translation have helped push this forward. 

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