HOW LANGUAGE INTERPRETING HAS CHANGED WITH COVID-19: THE ROLE OF TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS IN A PANDEMIC

Source: Talking Heads

https://www.talkingheads.co.uk/newsarticles/interpretingchangedwithcovid

How The Role Of Translators And Interpreters Has Changed With COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic that swept the globe in 2020 and into 2021 has changed the world in an unforeseeable way. Almost every industry and job role has had to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing situation, and it’s no different for translators and interpreters.

With the social distancing and lockdown restrictions in place, face to face interpreting became difficult, and many businesses made the transition to using virtual platforms for communications. Undoubtedly, frontline workers and those who have been essential in keeping our daily lives moving are the heroes of this time, but the pandemic truly highlighted the importance of global translation and interpreting services.

Here are just a few ways in which the role of translators and interpreters has changed with COVID-19.

Less Face To Face Interpreting, More Remote Interpreting

Due to the rise in virtual events, meetings and conferences, there has been a lot more interest in remote interpreting. Where businesses would usually host a physical conference with global attendees, they now host virtual conferences with a remote interpreter. This has become an essential part of day-to-day operations for many industries, including government conferences, court hearings and assisted learning.

Despite the uncertainty about whether virtual meetings, conferences or events will be a permanent fixture for businesses, including remote interpreting has been a fantastic way to provide accessibility and inclusivity for everyone.

New And Uncommon Phrases

Not only has there been a new virus to contend with, but also an explosion of new words and phrases. To English speakers, words such as “covidiot” or “doomscrolling” have become common in our everyday language, and there has also been a sharp rise in uncommon phrases that are now heard on a regular basis, such as “self-isolating” and “social distancing”.

While there are new words being coined regularly and uncommon language resurfacing, it has become more important than ever for translators and interpreters to bridge the gap between meanings and translated words. For example, “lockdown” is widely used in the UK in reference to businesses closing and people staying at home as much as possible. However, in Singapore, they prefer to use “circuit breaker”, which has a different meaning in the UK within the same context.

The task that has been presented to global translation and interpreting services, including sign language interpreters, is making sure that these words and phrases are translated in a way that makes sense, so to avoid miscommunication, especially in a medical setting.

The Need For Localisation Online

With the need to bridge the gap between words and meanings across languages becoming more apparent with COVID-19, and the amount of people spending time online rising, the need for localisation on the web has become so important. According to Shopify, 75% of consumers want to buy products in their native language, which means that to become a global brand, translation must be taken seriously.

Over the course of 2020 and 2021, more online businesses and brands have been utilising global translation and interpreting services to help shift their sites to a more worldwide focus. Having the assistance of language experts has ensured efficiency, accuracy and the correct tools to grow sales and reach a new audience.

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