How did the pandemic change the translating and interpreting services?

For several months now, the world has been impacted by a virus that has cast uncertainty on the future. Its impact has been felt deeply, across all occupations. Businesses have largely had to adapt to working remotely in order to overcome the difficulties facing them. This has its advantages and disadvantages, but what has it meant for the translation profession?

For translators, working remotely is nothing new; it is common for translators to be in contact with companies, agencies and others from the comfort of their own home. It has therefore been somewhat easier for them to adapt to the new way of working in the short term.
Nevertheless, some translators, especially those in the older generations, have had greater difficulty using online platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. As a result, some have decided to take IT training to be able to continue working as efficiently as possible, and thus avoid an almost inevitable drop in income.

Remote interpretation and participation may well lead to an increase in demand for interpretation services in the long run, because they are more attainable, affordable, and easier to arrange, especially for smaller organizations. There can be no disputing the fact that online interpretation for events, conferences, seminars, and press meetings is the way of the future. Luckily, the tools to facilitate this paradigm shift are already available.

The basic function of translation is communication. Faced with the precipitous pandemic, the dissemination of pandemic-related information to the entire world ranked as the top priority. Various forms of cooperation emerged in anti-Covid-19 translation as indispensable means to publicize news and knowledge about the disease. Through cooperation with pandemic professionals, Chinese translators, have translated valuable materials about the pandemic into major foreign languages as soon as possible, thus sharing China’s knowledge of the disease and the importance of taking preventative measures.

This information needs to be translated quickly so that the necessary people can understand it and communicate it to others. Our best chance at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic around the world is to learn from the experiences of those countries that have been the most successful in keeping cases low. Effective translation of information is key.

However, new terminology is more difficult to translate, because when a word is created in one language, it must also be created in other languages in a way that is fitting for each individual culture. Some words can be globally accepted, but it is unusual for a term to be culturally and linguistically appropriate across all languages. “Social distancing” is an example of a term that has been created during this pandemic alone, and every culture will interpret it their own way.
Over the past months, we have all become familiar with the new coronavirus lexicon with a COVID-19 glossary of 150 terms in 18 languages available for download. But not all words translate easily into other languages. Organizations are faced with the challenge of communicating many new COVID-19-related concepts. This process entails establishing the most appropriate translations for specific terms and phrases, and using them consistently across materials

Fortunately, cooperation, particularly between translators and modern technology, has made things much easier. First, advanced technology has made online translation, teaching and remote interpretation possible, while maintaining the normal performance and safeguarding the health of translators and students. Secondly, machine translation has greatly contributed to speeding up the spread of information, promoting good practice for symptom identification, prevention, and treatment. Thirdly, multimodal translation has demonstrated its importance for communication during the pandemic. In crisis communication, messages are more effective if they match the audience’s needs, values, background, culture and experience. Thus, translators must consider the varied needs of audiences, particularly the undereducated, language minorities, and the hearing impaired. In this way, multimodal translation can satisfy the needs of different groups by providing translated information through words, pictures, audios, videos and other available modes.

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