COVID-19 has impacted everyone in one form or another as it is a shared crisis across the globe. Many have suffered, or know others who have and it is still on going even as restrictions ease. There has been a call for linguists to come together and help spread important information which could help save many people by translating and interpreting key details into different languages as we are all in the same boat. Professional medical interpreters are needed on a local level or be virtually available to help instantly and reduce the risk of spreading the virus even more by covering topics.
However, this call for assistance has affected linguists negatively whether financially or mentally. For people’s safety, face-to-face interpretations were cancelled immediately by most clients as many places shut down their buildings and went online instead. This allowed some interpreters to have a chance at video or telephone interpreting, however the demand was not as high. This meant a loss of income on their side, even though many work as freelancers.
There could also be other factors for mental health being affected adversely such as social isolation, parenting stress, and loss among others. Translators and interpreters work across many different fields from healthcare, public services, law and education which allows them to have a variety of topics and conversations. However, these can be mentally challenging if the information or scenario is not easy to consume.
If a linguist has personally suffered a loss of a family member or friend and have been asked to work on some COVID-19 material, it might be a sensitive topic which could impact their mindset negatively if the task is taken on.
Some might be brave enough to do it for the financial income but not all linguists can. This blog would like to recognise their hard work during this challenging time as we have of healthcare professionals too and other frontline workers. Hopefully, we can see a better future with precautions in place which allow everyone to go back into society and resume a semblance of normal life.
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