With our world becoming ever more interconnected and with the rise of globalisation, interacting with people from different countries that speak different languages is almost becoming a part of our everyday lives. As this intercultural communication rises the demand for translators and interpreters will also see an increase.

The role of Interpreters and linguists should not be understated. They are a vital communication bridge, facilitating conversation between parties that do not share a common tongue. It is important for them to have a firm grasp of the cultural nuances and traditions of the languages that they work with. For example, if you were to directly interpret ‘raining cats and dogs’ to another language, I assure you it would create a lot of confusion. Similarly, Arabic in North Africa and Arabic in the middle East can be very different and present a whole host of cultural dissimilarities within the vernacular. Thus, Interpreters and translators need to be versed in the language as well as the culture and the norms of that society.

Communication is crucial, it is the factor that sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. When a non-English speaking hospital patient is suffering and wants to convey the extent of their pain, it is an interpreter who ensures that she does not suffer in silence.

The language sector is extremely valuable in the community and regardless of the effects of the pandemic, it is something that will remain be available. Interpreters are having to explore new, intuitive ways to continue to deliver their services. The usual form of delivery included sitting beside both parties face to face and interpreting the conversation as it transpired.  However, to respect social distancing concerns and to continue delivering their vital services during quarantine, Interpreters have now adopted a more technology-based approach. Interpreting has now become a more remotely delivered service, with the help of video conferencing platforms such as Skype and Zoom, interpreters are still able to deliver their vital service. Other industries have had to adapt alongside this, some court services and prison visits are being held via call or video call with interpreters facilitating the conversation virtually.

As for translators, the pandemic has not affected their work as much as it has for interpreters, as their work is usually done remotely. Translating important documents is something that is easily done remotely, hence, they are able to continue business as usual from the comfort of their home.

Additionally, with many of the COVID-19 updates being given in English, Interpreters and translators need to be aware of them immediately so as to deliver this vital information to non-English speakers. Important medical documents such as regulatory documents, scientific papers, patient forms need to be translated to save lives. As well as healthcare, prevention is at the top of everyone’s mind, we must ensure that we thoroughly communicate the latest prevention strategies to everyone. It is apparent that COVID-19 is a global issue, so it requires global solutions through the means of interpreters and translators.