Importance of Interpretation During A Pandemic

With global lockdown, every possible service went online including interpretation and translation. It is not entirely new for anyone to see the words “online” or “freelance” being used in the same sentence as “translation” but what about interpretation? In this article, we will look into what is the importance of interpretation during a pandemic.

What is Interpretation?

Let’s start with this simple question about interpretation. The basic definition is interpretation is the act of explaining something. Therefore, it seems quite similar to translation. Indeed, sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. But the difference of interpretation is the speaking factor. Interpretation focuses on spoken language while translation focuses on texts. This difference is the origin of the problem interpretation companies are facing during the pandemic.

Online Interpretation vs Online Translation

There are various forms of interpretation (such as telephone interpreting), but usually, interpreters have to travel and meet with clients in order to do their job. On the other hand, it is rare to see a translator do the same. This means it is inconvenient to transform interpretation into online practice. But this does not mean that there is no need for interpretation services during a pandemic. Most conferences and meetings are canceled due to the virus. Yet there are millions of people, such as refugees, in need of interpreters during this unprecedented pandemic.

Importance of Interpretation Services during Pandemic

Some organizations like WHO have been sharing critical information during the pandemic to advise people on what they should do. But unfortunately, some people live in hard conditions and do not have access to this information. This is where interpretation comes in. Compared to translation, interpretation is more convenient to communicate with people and come up with a solution to their problems. It is also easier to prevent misinformation during an interpretation as it is more suitable for the rapid changing of conditions.

Interpreters against COVID-19

Interpretation is a must to ensure any shared information is conveyed in a way that every single person in the target audience can understand. Especially when talking about medical information that can help to prevent a deadly virus from spreading, promptness is very important as well. During the pandemic, various non-profit organizations such as TWB (Translators Without Borders) offered help to make sure that refugees and other groups of minorities are well-informed. But this does not mean that the sole role of interpretation is to inform them about what to do or not.

With the lockdown taking its place, the Canadian government provided 7.5 million dollars to Kids Help Phone, a Canadian charitable organization that provides free counseling to kids through calls and text messages in various platforms. At first, the organization offered counseling in English and French only. With the funding provided by the government, the Arabic language was also added to the languages they offered. The organization aims to help Syrian kids among more than 70,000 refugees. Kids Help Phone is only one of those many organizations required interpreters’ help during the pandemic.

Medical Translation and Medical Interpretation

Medical translation is one of the biggest translation fields. It requires years of experience in addition to great attention to detail, as the text may be crucial for a patient (for example, a report about a medical condition). Despite not being as common, medical interpretation definitely is as important as medical translation. During the pandemic a lot of interpreters volunteered to help officials and doctors in testing and treatment processes, proving that medical interpretation is important especially in extreme conditions such as the pandemic.

Interpretation surely makes it easier to go beyond language barriers and such situations make it clear for us to see its importance better. Thus, it is essential that necessary implementations are made to transform interpretation into online practice, especially during these hard times.

Stay Safe with Protranslate

Although people are advised not to leave their homes during these hard times, the need for translation is undoubtedly more important than ever. For those who wish to avoid face to face human interactions, Protranslate proves to be a great option! Unfortunately, we are not providing interpretation services for the time being. Still, customers all around the world can commission their medical translation projects while staying safe with our online translation services.

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