ArticlePDF Available

Crisis Translation: Considering Language Needs in Multilingual Disaster Settings

Authors:

Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role that language translation can play in disaster prevention and management and to make the case for increased attention to language translation in crisis communication. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on literature relating to disaster management to suggest that translation is a perennial issue in crisis communication. Findings Although communication with multicultural and multilinguistic communities is seen as being in urgent need of attention, the authors find that the role of translation in enabling this is underestimated, if not unrecognized. Originality/value This paper raises awareness of the need for urgent attention to be given by scholars and practitioners to the role of translation in crisis communication.
Crisis Translation: Considering Language Needs in Multilingual
1
Disaster Settings
2
Abstract
3
Purpose: The purpose of this conceptual paper is to highlight the role that language
4
translation can play in disaster prevention and management and to make the case for
5
increased attention to language translation in crisis communication.
6
Approach: The article draws on literature relating to disaster management to suggest
7
that translation is a perennial issue in crisis communication.
8
Findings: Although communication with multicultural and multilinguistic communities
9
is seen as being in urgent need of attention, we find that the role of translation in
10
enabling this is underestimated, if not unrecognised.
11
Value: This article raises awareness of the need for urgent attention to be given by
12
scholars and practitioners to the role of translation in crisis communication.
13
Keywords: crisis communication; translation and interpreting; emergency response;
14
cross-cultural barriers; linguistic vulnerability
15
16
Introduction
17
Much as the world is interconnected and globalized in terms of communication, the
18
breadth of social and economic impact of communication in multilingual, transborder as
19
well as national crises remains understudied (Federici, 2016). Long-lasting crises can
20
erupt within multicultural cities (e.g. the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London), a region
21
(the 2017 earthquake in Mexico), a nation (the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake, or the
22
2010 Haiti earthquake), or across borders between multiple countries (the 2004 Boxing
23
Day Tsunami across 18 countries in the Indian Ocean). Triggered by natural hazards, or
24
teleological motivations human-driven disasters, including terrorism and conflict
25
(Glade and Alexander, 2016) happen within multilingual and multicultural societies
26
(Cadwell, 2014; Cadwell and O’Brien, 2016; O’Brien and Cadwell, 2017). Increased
27
people displacement and economic migrations across the world causes major concerns
28
for migrants’ adaptability to disasters in their new contexts. Although displaced
29
populations can be resilient because of their past experiences (Guadagno et al., 2017;
30
Khan and McNamara, 2017; MICIC, 2016), at the same time they can be exposed to
31
new vulnerabilities in their new environments with limited access to information
32
(Puthoopparambil and Parente, 2018). Language plays a role in both cross-boundary
33
and local settings. Local crises in multilingual societies equally have implications for
34
temporary or long-term residents with limited proficiency in the local language an
35
example: translations into 18 languages were needed after the Grenfell Tower fire.
36
Thus, from indigenous populations to (un)integrated migrants, to tourists or business
37
travellers, any crisis can cascade into multiple, diverse, and interrelated temporal,
38
cultural, linguistic and geographical dimensions (Pescaroli and Alexander, 2015).
39
Consequently, language translation is required.
40
Training for internationally-coordinated responses to crises (Howe et al., 2013)
41
and collecting data from disasters (Mulder et al., 2016) also happen in multilingual
42
environments, where the lingua franca (the English language of international
43
humanitarian institutions) is both a solution and part of the problem. Overreliance on
44
everybody’s (degrees of) competence in English delays engaging with the ‘perennial
45
issue of crisis communication among international responders (Crowley and Chan,
46
2011, p. 24) and with crisis-affected communities (New Zealand Government, 2013).
47
In this article, we make the case for increased attention to language translation in
48
crisis communication. Translation is here intended as linguistic and cultural transfer
49
from one language into another, be it through oral, signing, written, or multimodal
50
channels. We show how, in spite of some progress, the literature that deals with the
51
multilingual nature of crisis situations is limited in fields where it should thrive, such as
52
in crisis communication and in translation studies. Despite the central role attributed to
53
efficient communication in disaster risk reduction (henceforth DRR), our current ability
54
to plan and deliver multilingual information in crises is in fact hindered by the focus on
55
language needs that is predominantly limited to considering, dealing, or resolving
56
language issues in the response phase. We propose a shift of focus towards considering
57
language translation as part of disaster prevention and management. Embedded in
58
debates on planning, preparedness, training, and mitigation, language translation aligns
59
with the recent call to consider communication of crucial and timely information in
60
crisis management as a human right (Greenwood et al., 2017). Yet, as the cursory
61
evidence on how the multilingual communication issues are studied so far shows this
62
right goes currently unnoticed, or gets very limited attention, at best.
63
What is Crisis Translation?
64
Communication mediated by professional and ad-hoc linguists (be they translators or
65
interpreters) is a complex form of communication. Prior to explaining the proposed
66
conceptualisation of crisis translation, it is necessary to scope what is meant by
67
translation and crisis, as used in this article. We propose a broad conceptualisation of
68
crisis translation as a specific form of communication that overlaps with principles of
69
risk communication (CDC, 2008, 2014; Reynolds and Seeger, 2014) as much as with
70
principles of emergency planning and management (Alexander, 2002; 2016b).
71
Over the last decades, the recognition that any disruptive event has cascading effects
72
has become significant. As issues in multilingual communication exist before, during,
73
and after any emergency or disaster, an awareness of cascading effects over the long-
74
term and beyond the geographical location of the event is a conditio sine qua non to
75
consider definitions of crisis that account for the interconnectedness of the 21st-century
76
world. Pescaroli and Alexander’s definition of ‘cascading disasters’ (2015), which
77
connects crisis as a threatening condition with disasters as triggering events of different
78
magnitude and duration, shapes our definition of crisis. In particular, Pescaroli and
79
Alexander (2015, p. 62) integrate and sharpen the UN Office for Disaster Risk
80
Reduction terminology by emphasizing that cascades are events that depend, to some
81
extent, on their context, and thus their diffusion is associated with enduring
82
vulnerabilities. It is noteworthy, however, that the UN perceives language translation
83
as a matter of services. For instance, the Disaster Assessment and Coordination Field
84
Handbook (UNDAC, 2018) in the workflow of its On-Site Operations Coordination
85
Centre for disaster management includes in one of its checklists for crisis
86
communication “procurement of translation/interpretation services” (UNDAC 2018, p.
87
17). This positive awareness of need clashes with the reality that such services may
88
exist professionally in very limited scope, translators and interpreters are not trained in
89
the many language pairs that may be required, and local languages, dialects, minority
90
languages, and low/no literacy communities are less served than lingua franca or
91
international languages. The lack of appropriate linguistic and cultural awareness in
92
crisis communication may lead to catastrophic consequences, which could be avoidable
93
and for this reason we position this lack within the cascading disaster paradigm.
94
Problems of translation leading to inappropriate evacuations (e.g. Field, 2017) or
95
cultural presumptions leading to further infection in displaced and local populations in
96
the 2014 Ebola outbreak (e.g. Bastide, 2018) show that inadequate planning for
97
language translation provision leads to vulnerability.
98
The UN defines as vulnerabilities the conditions determined by physical, social,
99
economic and environmental factors or processes which increase the susceptibility of an
100
individual, a community, assets or systems to the impacts of hazards.
i
Vulnerabilities
101
also depend on cultural perceptions of risk and whether cultural backgrounds align with
102
the international (often Anglophone) concepts of preparedness and risk reduction (see
103
discussions in Blaikie et al., 2004; Krüger et al., 2015). Lack of integration, lack of
104
participation, lack of access to information represent vulnerabilities for Culturally and
105
Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. Translation would mitigate some of these
106
pre-existing vulnerabilities, but as Grin (2017, p. 156) puts it [t]ranslation sometimes
107
evokes the image of a Cinderella confined to humble domestic chores while her elder
108
sisters, that is, communication strategies like lingua franca and second/foreign
109
language learning, enjoy all the attention and visibility. The consequences of these are
110
highlighted in the recent IFRC World Disasters Report 2018:
111
Speakers of minority languages who are not fluent in the official national
112
language(s) are at a structural disadvantage in many countries. […] However
113
linguistically diverse the affected population, humanitarian responses are usually
114
coordinated in international lingua francas and delivered in a narrow range of
115
national languages. (IFRC, 2018, p. 103)
116
As a result, language translation rarely, if ever, features among plans to increase
117
resilience but its absence increases the cascading effects of crises. Pescaroli and
118
Alexander’s definition of ‘cascading disasters’ (2015, pp. 64-65) underpins a notion of
119
crisis that persuades us that research into translation and its effects on communication
120
in crisis management is much needed. Poor or culturally inappropriate communication
121
undermines trust in responders and institutions. Failure to address effective
122
communication for CALD communities generates further social disruption, one of the
123
cascading effects. This, in turn, risks affecting and endangering respondents who may
124
deal with crisis-affected populations because their lack of understanding or their cultural
125
mindset make them appear as non-collaborative. Thus, crisis translation considers
126
language barriers in the context of multi-dimensional cascading effects that widen
127
existing vulnerabilities or engender new ones by means of miscommunication.
128
As mentioned earlier, ‘translation’ here refers to all modes, oral, written, signed,
129
and multimodal that could be used for communication in preparation and response, as
130
well as for recovery from a crisis. Hence, translation includes the oral task of
131
interpreting. For those outside the academic and professional domain of translation,
132
debates about the different skills required from translators and interpreters are largely
133
unknown and translation is the term used generally to mean the transfer of meaning
134
and cultural encodings from one language/cultural system to another regardless of the
135
channel of communication (e.g. the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative heading
136
translation: the perennial hidden issue concerns in fact a question of interpreting).
137
Moreover, an individual may act as a translator of written content in one instance and an
138
interpreter of oral content in another. This is especially the case in crisis situations. The
139
term translator is usually reserved in academia and in the translation professions
140
(Gouadec, 2007) for those who are qualified to act through training and/or experience.
141
However, in a crisis situation, a translator might be any person who can mediate
142
between two or more language and culture systems, without specific training or
143
qualifications (Federici and Cadwell, 2018; O'Brien and Cadwell, 2017). A translator
144
might even be a young refugee (see Marlowe and Bogen, 2015; Melandri et al., 2014).
145
This loose definition of a translator is not a comfortable one for those who work in the
146
translation professions or in the related academic discipline. Nonetheless, when people
147
are faced with a crisis, the luxury of a trained professional is often just that an
148
unattainable luxury. We recognize that translation is carried out by many different
149
people in crisis situations; that it is sometimes oral, sometimes written, and sometimes
150
highly multimodal; that the translator is sometimes a trained professional and
151
sometimes not, sometimes an adult, sometimes a child, that translators do not just
152
transfer linguistic information, but also act, very importantly, as cultural mediators.
153
Take this state of affairs and add to it the lack of trained translators and interpreters who
154
are available to work in a crisis, the lack of funding for communication, never mind
155
translation, the urgency that is associated with core phases of crises (response and
156
recovery), and the potential power of volunteers, it is necessary to adopt a broad
157
definition of ‘translation’ and ‘translator’.
158
Growing Recognition of the Need
159
We do not wish to give the impression that translation is entirely overlooked in
160
commentaries or policies on crisis communication. At the Sendai implementation
161
conference in 2016, translation and interpreting were discussed in the context of
162
capacity building for disaster risk reduction (Aitsi-Selmi et al., 2016). The GDACS
163
(Global Disaster Alert Coordination System
ii
) guidelines for international exchange in
164
disasters mentions translators once, but they are listed in the company of the following
165
information exchange responsibilities of the affected country: transport, fuel/lubricants,
166
translators, warehouses, maps, etc. The Sphere Handbook (2018: p. 71), under
167
commitment 6 on information sharing in humanitarian response, includes two explicit
168
communicative obligations: ‘Communicate clearly and avoid jargon and colloquialisms,
169
especially when other participants do not speak the same language. Provide interpreters
170
and translators if needed’.
171
Cadwell (2015) and Cadwell and O’Brien (2016) investigate the use and
172
potential of translation technology in crisis situations. Somewhat surprisingly, it was
173
found that industry-standard and commercial translation tools such as translation
174
memory, terminology databases, and machine translation (i.e. MT fully automatic
175
translation) played an insignificant role for foreign nationals affected by the Great East
176
Japan Earthquake. Since then, the potential of translation technology to assist in crisis
177
situations has been growing (see O’Brien – forthcoming - for a discussion). Having
178
crisis terminology online is of course useful, but accessibility in times of crisis for all
179
the potential actors has not been critically appraised and ways of building and sharing
180
translation databases, for example, by and for volunteers goes largely unassessed, as
181
does the utility of such databases for the training of machine translation engines.
182
Initial strides for inclusion of translation technologies in response to crisis comes
183
from the NGO Translators without Borders (TWB). It has played a leading role in
184
having translation recognized and implemented as part of humanitarian aid in the past
185
number of years, including pioneering work to train crisis translators (O'Brien, 2016).
186
Their Words of Relief project aims to translate crisis messages into 15 world languages,
187
build a spider network of diaspora who can translate, and create a crowd-sourced
188
application that connects aid workers and data aggregators in an emergency. In addition,
189
TWB partnered with Microsoft to push forward crucial work in machine translation
190
(Crisis MT, see Lewis, 2010; Lewis et al., 2011) and their operations office in Kenya
191
stimulated a first study on comprehension of translated information about Ebola among
192
Kenyans.
193
Yet, Translation is Mostly Ignored
194
In spite of these seedling developments, translation as a facilitator of crisis information
195
is mostly overlooked. In 2018, the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System: A Checklist
196
(WMO, 2018) shows how awareness about cultural and linguistic differences remains
197
very limited. Even though the checklist responds to the purpose of the Sendai
198
Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 20-15-2030 (UNISDR, 2015) so as to attain
199
the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and
200
in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons,
201
businesses, communities, and countries, the checklist remarkably excludes language
202
obstacles to effective communication. Linguistic diversity is the status quo in most
203
countries world-wide. However, language’ is often conflated with the concept of
204
‘culture’ and the implicit assumption seems to be that if cultural diversity is noted,
205
translation will somehow happen; many international documents, including influential
206
documents such as this checklist, are redacted in one of the 7 official languages of the
207
UN, whilst 7,111 languages are currently actual use (Ethnologue, 2019)
1
. Yet languages
208
such as Hindi, the 4th largest for native speakers and 3rd largest for overall number, are
209
not included among the official languages. It is tempting to argue that considerations
210
about linguistic diversity recede before prestige and power of lingua francas. Moreover,
211
translation costs money, which may not abound in crisis response. It also requires
212
forward planning. For example, establishing a database of approved translators and
213
interpreters for specific language pairs, knowing their expertise, their availability etc.
214
As a result of these and possibly other factors, the fact that linguistic diversity comes
215
with translation needs in cross-boundary crises remains underestimated.
216
It is unclear who has ownership of provision for effective communication in a
217
language that is understood by the recipients of crisis information. The document
218
dedicated to early-warning signals does not suggest that a specific responder (person or
219
institution) should deal with the logistical difficulties of accommodating language
220
differences when communicating risks with the purpose of mitigating its impact. CALD
221
communities and their needs are listed; they are included in checks for assessment of
222
1
Source: https://www.ethnologue.com/guides/how-many-languages, accessed: 26 June 2019.
exposure, vulnerabilities, capacities, and risks (p.10) where the checklist includes a
223
box for legislation and cultural norms assessed to identify gaps that may increase
224
vulnerability. Though cultural diversity is listed, it does not follow automatically that
225
language needs are either included or taken care of, as mentioned above. The focus,
226
rather, seems to be on cultural and behavioral norms, but not on language access.
227
Further, in the extensive body of literature on crisis or disaster management,
228
with its intrinsic terminological debates on what disaster management entails (Fischer,
229
2008; Haddow et al., 2011; Thomas et al., 2013; Wall and Chery, 2011; Waugh, 2007),
230
or in the charter of humanitarian response of The Sphere Project (2011; as seen some
231
more commitment appears in the 2018 edition), the common denominator appears to be
232
that multilingual communication issues are considered sporadically, and only recently
233
have they acquired limited visibility. In some of this literature, the strategic importance
234
of communication, or information as aid, is highlighted (Fischer, 2008; Isiolo, 2012;
235
Santos-Hernández and Hearn Morrow, 2013; Seeger, 2006; WHO, 2012). In
236
international and European protocols or roadmaps on crisis or emergency management,
237
recommendations on clear communication with crisis-affected communities form a core
238
element yet they do not mention translation (DG-ECHO, 2013; EC, 2014, 2017). A
239
recent institutional commitment from the United Nations High Commission for
240
Refugees has one formal commitment about access to information to address
241
migration crises:
242
Therefore, we need to maintain continuous communication with communities,
243
using languages, formats, and media that are contextually appropriate and
244
accessible for all groups in a community, including children and persons with
245
disabilities. (UNHCR, 2018, p. 8)
246
It is, at best however, a general statement of principle.
247
The EU’s General Guidelines for Operational Priorities on Humanitarian Aid
248
signalled the importance of communicating transparently about disasters (EC, 2014) and
249
recently introduced an economic argument in favor of risk reduction and prevention that
250
applies to considering translation as a tool to better inform and educate for prevention:
251
We know that investment in prevention saves lives and livelihoods; it needs therefore
252
efficient targeting to disaster risks (EC, 2017, section 2). These goals sit alongside the
253
rights-based notion that whatever the status of one’s spoken language (Mowbray, 2017),
254
information in a crisis is a fundamental human right (Greenwood et al., 2017; O’Brien
255
et al., 2018).
256
Some of these commentators have provided evidence of negative consequences
257
when crisis communication does not work, especially when communication is in a
258
second or third language for the crisis-affected communities, or in a language they do
259
not understand at all. The pivotal work, previously mentioned, Disaster Relief 2.0,
260
published by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (Crowley and Chan, 2011), using the
261
Haiti Earthquake example, argues for increased cooperation and dialogue between
262
humanitarian agencies and the technical and linguistic volunteers spread around the
263
globe who help process the communication generated by the disaster-affected
264
communities. It also called for deeper interactions in future disasters between those
265
responding to and those experiencing a disaster; eight years on and this issue is still
266
relevant as it remains unaddressed (Cook et al., 2016).
267
Moser-Mercer et al. (2014, p. 141) confirm this point: Surprisingly, language
268
needs of large-scale humanitarian actions and deployments are rarely voiced, often
269
downplayed and at best indirectly stated. To provide additional concrete examples,
270
Haddow et al. (2011) in their Introduction to Emergency Management, list five critical
271
assumptions for a successful crisis communications strategy: (1) customer focus; (2)
272
leadership commitment; (3) the inclusion of communications and planning in
273
operations; (4) situational awareness; and (5) media partnership. The audience and
274
customers of crisis information are listed as the general public, victims, the business
275
community, media, elected officials, community officials and volunteer groups (i.e. a
276
diverse group). It cannot be assumed that all these people share equal competencies in
277
the same language, so translation is a necessity. Yet, nowhere is translation mentioned
278
in this volume.
279
The DG ECHO Disaster Risk Reduction Policy Document discusses the
280
importance of inclusive information and communication and mentions in particular that
281
information should be accessible for all (DG-ECHO, 2013, p. 41). This document also
282
mentions strengthening resilience through timely exchange of information. However,
283
making information accessible by either simplifying it for those with limited proficiency
284
in a lingua franca, or translating it is only mentioned very briefly (briefing of
285
colleagues and translation in practice).
286
In his discussion on lessons learned from previous disasters, Fischer (2008, p.
287
217) notes that
288
instructions for obtaining medical assistance and subsistence supplies as well as
289
instructions for an evacuation or a quarantine are more likely to be responded to if
290
they are frequently repeated, articulated clearly and with specificity. All too often
291
emergency personnel assume that because the information was disseminated, the
292
intended recipients have received it, understood it, and responded to it in the
293
desired fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth.
294
This statement reminds us that communicating one way is insufficient, but the author
295
fails to note that, for communication to be effective, it does not only have to meet the
296
requirements listed above, but should be delivered in a language that is comprehended
297
by those who need that communication. Retention, understanding, and desire for
298
information in specific modes or formats by affected populations are excluded from this
299
equation, with the risk of one-directional forms of communication (for an illustration,
300
see O’Brien and Cadwell, 2017).
301
In his 2006 article on best practices in crisis communication, Seeger lists ten
302
best practices on crisis communication generated from research literature. Due to space
303
constraints, we do not list them all here, but emphasize practice number (8), given its
304
significance for ethical crisis communication: communicate with compassion, concern,
305
and empathy. None of the best practices, not even (8), recognize the role of
306
multilingual communication through translation.
307
Access to compassionate speakers of one’s language represented a powerful
308
resource for refugees caught in the aftermath of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in New
309
Zealand (Christchurch and Canterbury), but it was acknowledged that improvements in
310
communicating with culturally and linguistically diverse communities was required
311
(New Zealand Government, 2013). As a final example, even Santos Hernández and
312
Morrow (2013) who focus on language and literacy as factors in successful crisis
313
communication, acknowledge the importance of readability using typical measures such
314
as SMOG and Flesch-Kincaid, but fail to mention translation or interpreting. In
315
summary, there are ample examples of a considerable lacuna for the role and need for
316
translation in academic, governmental, and non-governmental discourse on crisis
317
communication.
318
Crisis Translation and Emergency Planning
319
We intend to demonstrate that in the context of DRR and crisis management alike,
320
additional focus on the language barrier would greatly contribute to community-led
321
initiatives to mitigate risks (Gaillard, 2010; Mercer et al., 2012; Shaw, 2012; Tabatabaei
322
et al., 2013). Language translation is a significant problem in the response phase of
323
disasters, as deploying language specialists in combinations that are difficult to predict
324
in advance is an expensive and logistically challenging task; as we mentioned
325
previously, interpreters and translators for the needed language combinations may not
326
be available, fully trained, or even exist. It is likely to remain an impossible task to
327
complete if the focus remains only on the response phase. In order to deploy interpreters
328
or provide information in languages that reach the affected communities, translators and
329
interpreters must be available. Professional translators are rare in many language
330
combinations, so bilingual staff of NGOs double up as translators and interpreters. This
331
role is frequently imposed on such staff, on top of their existing workload, and without
332
training or support. Also, translators and interpreters may even be affected themselves
333
by whatever crisis is ongoing.
334
Embedding translation into communication strategies within emergency
335
planning is part of the solution, like any other element that can be considered and
336
included in emergency plans as part of the ‘the process of preparing systematically for
337
future contingencies, including major incidents and disasters (Alexander, 2016b, p. 2).
338
This could involve pre-translated, pre-subtitled, pre-audio described materials in the
339
languages understood by the local communities to be part of early actions. To achieve
340
this, language translation needs to be part of pre-crisis emergency plans that will include
341
the development of resources to enable affected-communities to interact with disaster
342
managers and humanitarian organization. The so-called disaster cycle refers to the
343
phases of resilience building, preparation, emergency response, recovery, and
344
reconstruction (Alexander, 2016b, p. 23). Our contention is that translation can play an
345
important role towards preparedness.
346
Including translation as a component in emergency planning would have
347
multiple benefits. With increased access to timely and accurate information in a
348
language that can be (better) understood, lives and well-being can be protected.
349
Moreover, the considerable economic costs of dealing with crises could be reduced. The
350
EU H2020 Work Programme noted that the environmental and socio-economic impact
351
of disasters and crime and terrorism on the population amounts to average annual losses
352
of roughly 25% of the global GDP and 5% of the Union's GDP, respectively. According
353
to the UNISDR, the 2013 central European floods alone resulted in losses of US$18
354
billion. In the foreword to the World Atlas of Natural Disaster Risk (Shi and Kasperson,
355
2015), the then UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk
356
Reduction, Mrs Margareta Wahlström, stated that economic losses as a result of
357
disasters continue to rise. It is estimated that in the past three years, losses due to
358
disasters have exceeded $100 billion. In 2005, the UK Department for International
359
Development put forward a policy briefing document arguing that investment in risk
360
reduction is more cost-effective than just response actions when crises occur (White et
361
al. 2005). To shift from managing disaster to the proactive prevention of risk, with
362
possible reductions in the cost of disasters, multilingual communication needs to take its
363
proper place in the list that normally includes supplies, medicine, infrastructure and
364
technology.
365
Steps can be taken to incorporate translation into emergency planning. A logical
366
starting point is to ensure that it is a concrete and explicit part of emergency response
367
policy. The lack of reference to translation in policy or guideline documents is
368
unsurprising, given that there is not even agreement in policy documents on what core
369
terms such as vulnerability, capacity, and resilience mean. Gaillard (2010) discusses
370
how these core terms in DRR are often interpreted differently, depending on whether
371
the policy makers are active in the domain of climate change, development, or DRR. He
372
believes that huge efforts are required to close the gap between these domains as well as
373
between practitioners and scientists. Given conceptual differences at that level, it is not
374
hard to understand that translation hardly figures in policies relating to disasters and
375
crises. Expert terminology and the lack of preparedness in sourcing specialist translators
376
can be a deadly combination. An example of language needs from the local community
377
is given by Field (2017, p. 340) through her discussions with local groups. The failure
378
to evacuate appropriate regions before the landfall of Typhon Yolanda in the
379
Philippines partially rests on a lack of appropriate translation based on local cultural
380
needs: while the two are scientifically different phenomena, it was acknowledged that
381
had the threat of the storm surge been likened to that of a tsunami (for a coastal
382
population hit by a wave, the impact would be similar), the coastal regions would have
383
seen higher evacuation rates, particularly due to familiarity with the 2004 Indian Ocean
384
tsunami and the more recent 2011 tsunami in Japan’.
385
There is an urgency to identify best practices and to provide new insights for, or
386
indeed create, recommendations for crisis translation policy for national, European, and
387
international agencies that regularly work across borders and across languages, with a
388
view to reversing inequalities across language communities and promoting fairness of
389
access to information. This approach will be especially important in the context of new
390
migration patterns and policy requirements for Europe. Crisis communication literature
391
emphasizes the difficulties when trying to communicate with those who are the most
392
vulnerable, e.g. the elderly, disabled, children, or those with low literacy levels. Dealing
393
adequately with these challenges must be within the scope of crisis translation into the
394
future, when, in many societies with migrant populations, first generation migrants will
395
represent large communities in the care homes and their linguistic skills may not meet
396
their communicative needs.
397
There is some evidence that high level, national policies (e.g. FEMA, 2016;
398
NHS, 2015; Cabinet Office, 2012) provide for language provision for limited-
399
proficiency speakers, but more empirical data on the ways in which translation is
400
understood in these policies is required (O'Brien et al., 2018), not to mention how
401
policies are implemented.
402
Contending that crisis translation must be considered in relation to cascading
403
disasters, we opt for an activist approach. Viewing the definition from the point of view
404
of emergency planning, research into crisis translation needs to explore the roles of
405
language in all the phases of a disaster, including during the normal phase in which
406
resilience is built up. Alexander (2016a, p. 14), discussing emergency planning, reminds
407
the reader that [a] crisis is a sudden, intrusive interruption of normal conditions with
408
potentially adverse consequences. Normality is defined here as the average of
409
conditions over a protracted period in which things function acceptably. If CALD
410
communities are being supported by intercultural mediators (Belpiede, 1999; Casadei
411
and Franceschetti, 2009), interpreters, or community translators (Taibi, 2011; Taibi and
412
Ozolins, 2016) to access information in normal conditions, surely this confirms that
413
such needs will persist, in fact be exacerbated, in crisis situations. We suggest inverting
414
the research priorities, so that by building up data, resources, and technology, these can
415
be better deployed in the response and recovery phases. Just as other specialist skills
416
receive training to operate in emergencies, linguists ought to receive training to provide
417
support in crises and to create valuable expertise in handling language needs by being
418
embedded in crisis management practices. Translation, interpreting, cultural mediation,
419
and relationships between different language communities that enhance effective
420
communication in crisis connecting linguistic sub-groups to the broader society need to
421
be considered as part of the preventive measures that prepare residents for emergency
422
response (Federici, 2016). A good example is the initiative described by Clerveux et al.
423
(2010) where a Disaster Awareness Game (DAG) is developed to help increase hazard
424
awareness among school children in the Caribbean Community and Common Market
425
area. This multicultural area demands a multilinguistic approach to risk communication.
426
Clerveux et al. (ibid.) argue that children are an appropriate target for the DAG because
427
it is an investment in future disaster preparedness, but also because children of
428
immigrant families are a conduit of information between school and home. They show
429
awareness of the need for accessibility of the game, mentioning simple language and the
430
potential for translation. Nevertheless, the game itself, as represented in the paper, is in
431
English, which still falls short of truly serving multilinguistic needs. Another good
432
example is discussed in Shackleton (2018); New Zealand Red Cross worked with
433
members of CALD offering them translation training in order to contribute to a project
434
to increase awareness of emergencies affecting the Wellington region. In this project,
435
under-resourced language combinations saw CALD members develop a basic
436
understanding of translation and linguistic resources to describe natural hazards in the
437
local area through languages other than New Zealand’s main languages (English and Te
438
Reo Maori). These are good illustrations of how translation can be embedded in
439
practices of risk reduction; the CALD members involved in the project would not be
440
professional interpreters in case of a response, but they could contribute to circulating
441
information in translations (written texts, texts written to be read, radio or TV
442
broadcasts) to allow CALD communities to attain information in a language they
443
understand and in a format accessible to them. The example has limitations, however, as
444
it does not entail a feedback loop seeking to find out from the CALD communities what
445
information they would like to have and which formats are most appropriate.
446
Written, oral, and multimodal communication channels are used at different
447
stages of a crisis, with different audiences. Only early phases of crises automatically call
448
for oral interpreting; preparedness activities and reconstruction phases after a crisis are
449
more likely to call for translation, if there is an awareness of language needs. These are
450
broad differentiations: empirical data to identify how municipal, regional, or national-
451
level policies connect CALD needs with emergency planning is required. The data need
452
to have a cross-border as well as a local dimension to make sense of the needs of CALD
453
communities; often the data on ethnographic and linguistic background may be
454
collected for other reasons (census, electoral rolls) and these data could help identify
455
existing needs and create the premises (databases, leaflets, technological resources) to
456
develop language support for the time when it is needed. Data accuracy, assessment of
457
real language competences, distance between rural and urban needs, and budget are
458
among the obvious obstacles to developing crisis translation resources. However, this
459
complexity can no longer be a sufficient justification for a reactive mode to deal with
460
the language barrier, because cross-referencing such data with other well-known
461
datasets on hazardscapes, risks, and models derived from statistical data can be done as
462
part of disaster prevention measures. Interpolating these existing data would create
463
more valuable resources than what can be put together in the middle of a response.
464
The role of translation in recovery, reconstruction, and preparation phases
465
(intended as learning from activities just completed during the response phase) has not
466
been studied much either. This point begins to be appreciated also in the crisis
467
communication literature:
468
In other words, to date, transnational corporations, political institutions, disaster
469
relief organizations, and other actors involved in cross-cultural crises and
470
communication have almost no evidence-based and well-established guidelines
471
they can use to organize or coordinate international crisis communication or to
472
develop culture-sensitive crisis communication strategies or messages (instruction,
473
adjusting information, etc.). (Schwarz et al., 2016, p. 6)
474
Taking the most cynical of arguments, even if all the preparations are never going to be
475
needed, the benefits of involving CALD communities in preparedness strategies would
476
at the very least lead to more inclusive societies.
477
Conclusions
478
Crisis translation should be viewed from the point of view of reducing vulnerabilities
479
and providing efficient communication that would reduce costs if/when a crisis erupts.
480
Feeble yet slowly-growing is the voice of cost-effectiveness of investing in
481
preparedness, as in the Communication of the European Commission of 23 November
482
2017:
483
A fully integrated approach to prevention, preparedness, and response to disasters
484
in the Union and its Member States is urgently needed. We know that investment
485
in prevention saves lives and livelihoods; it needs therefore efficient targeting to
486
disaster risks. (EC, 2017)
487
Evidence of failings in crisis communication is plentiful and usually categorised
488
under issues of communication; reasons for avoiding these failings are compelling
489
(Greenwood et al., 2017), translation is considered as a perennial hidden issue
490
(Crowley and Chan, 2011, p. 24; IFRC 2018, p. 103), yet its inclusion in emergency
491
planning (and studies thereof) remain minimal and alternatives of plain or clear
492
language are still offered as adequate solutions, but are blind to the needs of those who
493
have very limited or no competence in the ‘language’ in question in the first instance
494
(see Strayhorn et al. 2012, for example), who cannot read, see, or hear.
495
In this context, we highlight the rationale for demanding evidence-based
496
investigations into the impact of the language barrier on communication in crisis
497
situations. We need to understand authentic training needs to support linguists (intended
498
here as anybody with some knowledge of more than one language) who may need,
499
want, or be co-opted to operate as translators in rare-language combinations when they
500
are not professionally trained. We need to identify beforehand the needs of local
501
populations in relation to existing capabilities to deal with multilingual contexts and to
502
identify ways of developing additional capabilities. We need to seek a better use for the
503
skills, technologies, and existing data on translation to be used in planned and
504
sophisticated ways rather than as afterthoughts at the moment of dire need. Crisis
505
Translation, as we propose in this article, is a catalyst research area to develop a
506
holistic, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive understanding of the role of
507
communication in multilingual crisis situations, so as to better address the necessity for
508
accommodating language needs in crisis situations, thus lessening the impact of the
509
language barrier in cascading crises.
510
511
Acknowledgement. [ANONYMISED FOR PEER REVIEW].
512
513
References
514
Aitsi-Selmi, A., Murray, V., Wannous, C., Dickinson, C., Johnston, D., Kawasaki, A.,
515
Stevance, A.S., and Yeung, T. (2016), Reflections on a science and technology
516
agenda for 21st century disaster risk reduction”, International Journal of
517
Disaster Risk Science, Vol. 7 No. 1, 1-29.
518
Alexander, D. E. (2002), Principles of Emergency Planning and Management, Oxford
519
University Press, Oxford; New York, NY.
520
Alexander, D. E. (2016a), How to Write an Emergency Plan, Dunedin Academic Press,
521
Edinburgh.
522
Alexander, D. E. (2016b), Disaster and emergency planning for preparedness,
523
response, and recovery”, in Cutter, S. L. (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia
524
Natural Hazard Science, Oxford University Press, Oxford; New York, NY, pp.
525
1-20.
526
Bastide, L. (2018), “Crisis Communication During the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa:
527
The Paradoxes of Decontextualized Contextualization.” In Bourrier, M. and C.
528
Bieder (Eds.), Risk Communication for the Future, Cham: Springer, pp. 95-108.
529
Belpiede, A. (1999), La professione di mediatore culturale in ambito sociale”,
530
Prospettive Sociali e Sanitarie, Vol. 2 No. 99, pp. 11-14.
531
Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., Davis, I., and Wisner, B. (2004), At Risk. Natural Hazards,
532
People's Vulnerability and Disasters (2nd ed.), Routledge: New York.
533
Cabinet Office (2012), Emergency preparedness: Guidance on part 1 of the Civil
534
Contingencies Act 2004, its associated regulations and non-statutory
535
arrangements”, London: Crown, available at: https://www.gov.uk/governmen
536
t/publications/emergency-preparedness (accessed 21 November 2018).
537
Cadwell, P. (2014), Translation and interpreting needs in the Great East Japan
538
Earthquake of 2011”, paper presented at the Man versus Machine Conference,
539
Proceedings of the XXth FIT World Congress (Vol. II), pp. 752-760.
540
Cadwell, P. (2015), A place for translation technologies in disaster settings: The case
541
of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake”, In O’Hagan, M. and Q. Zhang (Eds.),
542
Conflict and Communication: A Changing Asia in a Globalising World, EHV
543
Academic Press: Bremen, pp. 248-282.
544
Cadwell, P., and O’Brien, S. (2016), Language, culture, and translation in disaster ICT:
545
An ecosystemic model of understanding”, Perspectives. Studies in Translation
546
Theory and Practice, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 557-575.
547
Casadei, S., and Franceschetti, M. (2009), Il mediatore culturale in sei Paesi europei”,
548
Rome: ISFOL, available at:
549
http://archivio.isfol.it/DocEditor/test/File/2009/Strumenti_Isfol/Il_Mediatore_cu
550
lturale_in_sei_Paesi_europei.pdf (accessed 21 November 2018).
551
CDC. (2008), Crisis, emergency and risk communication”, Atlanta, GA: Centers for
552
Disease Control and Prevention, available at:
553
https://emergency.cdc.gov/cerc/index.asp (accessed 21 November 2018).
554
Clerveaux, V., Spence, B. and Katada, T. (2010), Promoting disaster awareness in
555
multicultural societies: the DAG approach, Disaster Prevention and
556
Management: An International Journal, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp.199-218.
557
Cook, A. D., Shrestha, M., and Htet, Z. B. (2016), International response to 2015
558
Nepal earthquake: Lessons and observations”, available at:
559
https://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-
560
content/uploads/2016/10/NTS_Report_5_Nepal_final_revised_Oct.pdf
561
(accessed 21 November 2018).
562
Coombs, W. T. (2004), Impact of past crises on current crisis communication: Insights
563
from situational crisis communication theory”, The Journal of Business
564
Communication, Vol. 41 No. 3, pp. 265-289.
565
Crouse Quinn, S. (2008), Crisis and emergency risk communication in a pandemic: a
566
model for building capacity and resilience of minority communities”, Health
567
Promotion Practice, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 18S-25S.
568
Crowley, J., and Chan, J. (2011), “Disaster Relief 2.0: The future of Information
569
Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies”, Vodafone Foundation: Washington, DC
570
and Berkshire, UK.
571
DG-ECHO (2013), Disaster risk reduction. Increasing resilience by reducing disaster
572
risk in humanitarian action”, available at: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/
573
files/policies/prevention_preparedness/DRR_thematic_policy_doc.pdf (accessed
574
21 November 2018).
575
EC (2014), General guidelines for operational priorities on humanitarian aid in 2015”,
576
available at:
577
http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/?fuseaction=list&coteId=10102&year=2
578
014&number=345&language=EN (accessed 21 November 2018).
579
EC. (2017), Strengthening EU disaster management: rescEU solidarity with
580
responsibility. Available at:
581
http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/?fuseaction=list&n=10&adv=0&coteId=
582
1&year=2017&number=773&version=F&dateFrom=&dateTo=&serviceId=&do
583
cumentType=&title=&titleLanguage=&titleSearch=EXACT&sortBy=NUMBE
584
R&sortOrder=DESC2017 (accessed: 21 November 2018).
585
Federici, F. M. (2016), Introduction: A state of emergency for crisis communication”,
586
in Federici, F. M. (Ed.), Mediating Emergencies and Conflicts. Frontline
587
Translating and Interpreting, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY, pp. 1-29.
588
Federici, F. M. and Cadwell, P. (2018), Training citizen translators: Red Cross
589
translation needs and the delivery of a bespoke training on the fundamentals of
590
translation”, in Tesseur, W. (Ed.), Translation in Non-governmental
591
Organisations. Special issue of Translation Spaces, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 20-43.
592
Field, J. (2017), “What is appropriate and relevant assistance after a disaster?
593
Accounting for culture(s) in the response to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.”
594
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol. 22, pp. 335-344.
595
FEMA. (2016), Language access plan”, available at:
596
https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/FEMA%20Language%20A
597
ccess%20Plan.pdf (accessed 21 November 2018).
598
Fischer, H. W. (2008), Response to Disaster: Fact versus Fiction and its Perpetuation:
599
The Sociology of Disaster (3rd ed.). University Press of America, Lanham, MD.
600
Gaillard, J.-C. (2010), Vulnerability, capacity and resilience: perspectives for climate
601
and development policy, Journal of International Development, Vol. 22 No. 2,
602
pp. 218-232.
603
Glade, T., and Alexander, D. E. (2016), Classification of natural disasters”, in
604
Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards, Springer, Berlin, pp. 78-82.
605
Gouadec, D. (2007), Translation as a Profession, John Benjamins Publishing,
606
Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA.
607
Greenwood, F., Howarth, C., Poole, D. E., Raymond, N. R., and Scarnecchia, D. P.
608
(2017), The signal code: A human rights approach to information during
609
crisis”, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative: Cambridge, MA, available at:
610
https://hhi.harvard.edu/publications/signal-code-ethical-obligations-
611
humanitarian-information-activities (accessed 21 November 2018).
612
Grin, F. (2017), Translation and language policy in the dynamics of multilingualism”,
613
International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 243, pp. 155-181.
614
Guadagno, L., Fuhrer, M., and Twigg, J. (2017), Migrants in Disaster Risk Reduction:
615
Practices for Inclusion, IOM, Geneva and Strasbourg Cedex, available at:
616
https://publications.iom.int/books/migrants-disaster-risk-reduction-practices-
617
inclusion (accessed 21 November 2018).
618
Haddow, G. D., Bullock, J. A., and Coppola, D. P. (2011), Introduction to Emergency
619
Management (4th ed.), Butterworth Heinemann, Burlington, MA.
620
Howe, A. W., Jennex, M. E., Bressler, G. H., and Frost, E. G. (2013), Exercise24:
621
Using Social Media for Crisis Response”, in Jennex, M. E. (Ed.), Using Social
622
and Information Technologies for Disaster and Crisis Management, IGI Global,
623
Hershey PA, pp. 232-250.
624
IFRC. (2018), World Disasters Report 2018. Leaving no one behind, International
625
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva, available at::
626
https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2018/10/B-WDR-2018-
627
EN-LR.pdf (accessed 21 November 2018).
628
Isiolo, I. A. (2012), A learning review of the pilot communications project”, available
629
at: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/infoasaid-
630
actionaid_isiolo-learningreview032012_2.pdf (accessed 21 November 2018).
631
Khan, K., and McNamara, T. (2017), Citizenship, immigration laws, and language”, in
632
Canagarajah, S. (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Migration and Language
633
Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 451-467.
634
Krüger, F., Bankoff, G., Cannon, T., Orlowski, B., and Schipper, E. L. F. (2015),
635
Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk
636
Reduction. Routledge, New York, NY.
637
Marlowe, J., and Bogen, R. (2015), Young people from refugee backgrounds as a
638
resource for disaster risk reduction”, International Journal of Disaster Risk
639
Reduction, Vol. 14, pp. 125-131.
640
Melandri, E., Carbonari, L., and Ricci, A. (2014), La qualifica del mediatore
641
interculturale. Contributi per il suo inserimento nel futuro sistema nazione di
642
certificazione delle competenze, ISFOL, Rome.
643
Mercer, J., Gaillard, J.-C., Crowley, K., Shannon, R., Alexander, B., Day, S., and
644
Becker, J. (2012), Culture and disaster risk reduction: Lessons and
645
opportunities”, Environmental Hazards, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 74-95.
646
MICIC. (2016), Guidelines to protect migrants in countries experiencing conflict or
647
natural disaster. MICIC, Geneva, available at:
648
https://micicinitiative.iom.int/sites/default/files/document/micic_guidelines_engl
649
ish_web_13_09_2016.pdf (accessed 21 November 2018).
650
Moser-Mercer, B., Kherbiche, L., and Class, B. (2014), Interpreting conflict: Training
651
challenges in humanitarian field interpreting”, Journal of Human Rights
652
Practice, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 140-158.
653
Mowbray, J. (2017), Translation as marginalisation? International law, translation and
654
the status of linguistic minorities”, in González Núñez, G. and Meylaerts, R.
655
(Eds), Translation and Public Policy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Case
656
Studies, Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 32-57.
657
Mulder, F., Ferguson, J., Groenewegen, P., Boersma, K., and Wolbers, J. (2016),
658
Questioning big data: Crowdsourcing crisis data towards an inclusive
659
humanitarian response”, Big Data and Society, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 1-13.
660
NHS England (2015), Emergency preparedness, resilience and response framework”,
661
available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/eprr/ (accessed 21 November
662
2018).
663
O'Brien, S. (2016), Training translators for crisis communication: Translators without
664
Borders as an example”, in Federici, F. M. (Ed.), Mediating Emergencies and
665
Conflicts. Frontline Translating and Interpreting, Palgrave Macmillan, New
666
York, NY, pp. 85111.
667
O’Brien, S. (forthcoming), Translation technology and disaster management”, in
668
O’Hagan, M. (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Translation Technology.
669
Routledge, New York, NY.
670
O'Brien, S., and Cadwell, P. (2017), Translation facilitates comprehension of health-
671
related crisis information: Kenya as an example Journal of Specialised
672
Translation, Vol. 28, pp. 23-51.
673
O'Brien, S., Federici, F. M., Cadwell, P., Marlowe, J., and Gerber, B. (2018),
674
Language translation during disaster: A comparative analysis of five national
675
approaches”, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol. 31, pp. 627-
676
636.
677
Pescaroli, G., and Alexander, D. E. (2015), A definition of cascading disasters and
678
cascading effects: Going beyond the ‘toppling dominos’ metaphor”, planet @
679
risk, Vol. 3 No. 1, doi:https://planet-risk.org/index.php/pr/article/view/208.
680
Puthoopparambil, S. J., & Parente, P. (2018), Report on the health of refugees and
681
migrants in the WHO European Region: no public health without refugee and
682
migrant health (2018), Copenhagen; Geneva: WHO Regional Office for Europe,
683
available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311347/978928
684
9053846-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y&ua=1 (accessed: 26 June 2019).
685
Reynolds, B., and Seeger, M. W. (2005), Crisis and emergency risk communication as
686
an integrative model”, Journal of Health Communication, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 43-
687
55.
688
Reynolds, B., and Seeger, M. W. (2014), Crisis and emergency risk communication,
689
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, available at:
690
https://emergency.cdc.gov/cerc/resources/pdf/cerc_2014edition.pdf (accessed:
691
26 June 2019).
692
Santos-Hernández, J. M., and Hearn Morrow, B. (2013), Language and literacy”, in
693
Thomas, D. S. K., Phillips, B. D., Lovekamp, W. E. and A. Fothergill (Eds),
694
Social Vulnerability to Disasters (2nd ed.) CRC Press, Boca Raton and New
695
York, NY, pp. 265-280.
696
Schwarz, A., Seeger, M. W., and Auer, C. (2016), Significance and structure of
697
international risk and crisis communication research - Toward an integrative
698
approach”, in Schwarz, A., Seeger, M.W., and Auer, C. (Eds), The Handbook of
699
International Crisis Communication Research, John Wiley and Sons, Oxford
700
and Malden, MA, pp. 1-10.
701
Seeger, M. W. (2006), Best practices in crisis communication: An expert panel
702
process Journal of Applied Communication Research, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 232-
703
244.
704
Shackleton, J. (2018), “Preparedness in diverse communities: Citizen translation for
705
community engagement. Paper presented at the Understanding Risk, Risk
706
Reduction, Consequences and Forecasting Track.” Proceedings of the National
707
Academy of Sciences, Wellington, New Zealand, available at: http://idl.iscram.or
708
g/files/jamieshackleton/2018/1655_JamieShackleton2018.pdf (accessed: 26 June
709
2019).
710
Shaw, R. (Ed.) (2012), Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction. Emerald Group
711
Publishing, Bingley, UK.
712
Shi, P., and Kasperson, R. (Eds.) (2015), World Atlas of Natural Disaster Risk.
713
Springer, Heidelberg.
714
Steelman, T. A., and McCaffrey, S. (2013), Best practices in risk and crisis
715
communication: Implications for natural hazards management”, Natural
716
Hazards, Vol. 65 No. 1, pp. 683-705.
717
Strayhorn, T., Dasmohapatra, S., Tilotta, D. and Mitchell, P. (2012), Effectiveness of
718
educational tools for hurricane resilience in homes, Disaster Prevention and
719
Management: An International Journal, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 433-444,
720
https://doi.org/10.1108/09653561211256143.
721
Tabatabaei, F., Nasserzadeh, S. M. R., Yates, S., Akhgar, B., Lockley, E., and Fortune,
722
D. (2013), From local to global: Community-based policing and national
723
security”, in Akhgar, B. and Yates, S. (Eds.), Strategic Intelligence
724
Management, Amsterdam, Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 85-92.
725
Taibi, M. (2011), Public service translation”, in Malmkjær, K. and Windle, K. (Eds.),
726
The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies, Oxford University Press, Oxford
727
and New York, NY, pp. 214 -227.
728
Taibi, M., and Ozolins, U. (2016), Community translation: Definitions, characteristics
729
and status quo”, in Taibi, M. and Ozolins, U. (Eds.), Community Translation
730
Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 7-28.
731
The Sphere Project. (2011), Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in
732
Humanitarian Response (2nd ed.), The Sphere Project, London and Washington,
733
DC.
734
The Sphere Project. (2018), The Sphere Project: Humanitarian charter and minimum
735
standards disaster response (3rd ed.), The Sphere Project, London and
736
Washington, DC.
737
Thomas, D. S. K., Phillips, B. D., Lovekamp, W. E., and Fothergill, A. (Eds.) (2013),
738
Social Vulnerability to Disasters (2nd ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton.
739
UNDAC. (2018), United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC)
740
Field Handbook (7th edition ed.), Geneva: UNOCHA, available at:
741
https://reliefweb.int/report/world/un-disaster-assessment-and-coordination-
742
undac-field-handbook-7th-edition-2018 (accessed: 26 June 2019).
743
UNHCR. (2018), Policy on Age, Gender, and Diversity (UNHCRlHCP/2018/1),
744
available at: http://www.unhcr.org/5aa13c0c7.pdf#zoom=95 (accessed: 21
745
November 2018).
746
UNISDR. (2015), Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 2030,
747
available at: http://www.unisdr.org/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordr
748
ren.pdf (accessed: 21 November 2018).
749
Wall, I., and Chery, Y. G. (2011), Ann Kite Yo Pale: Let Them Speak: Best Practice and
750
Lessons Learned in Communication with Disaster Affected Communities: Haiti
751
2010, available at:
752
https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/IAA_Haiti_2010_0.pdf
753
(accessed: 21 November 2018).
754
Waugh, W. (2007), Local emergency management in the post-9/11 world”, in Waugh,
755
W. and Tierney, K. (Eds.), Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for
756
Local Government, ICMA Press, Washington, pp. 11-23.
757
WHO. (2012), Toolkit for Assessing Health-System Capacity for Crisis Management -
758
Part 1. User Manual, available at:
759
http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/157886/e96187.pdf
760
(accessed: 21 November 2018).
761
White, P., Pelling, M., Sen, K., Seddon, D., Russell, S., and R. Few. (2005), Disaster
762
Risk Reduction: A Development Concern, DfID, London, available at:
763
https://www.preventionweb.net/files/1070_drrscopingstudy.pdf (accessed: 21
764
November 2018).
765
WMO. (2018), Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems: A Checklist. UN World
766
Meteorological Organization, Geneva.
767
New Zealand Government (2013), Including Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
768
(CALD) Communities, available at:
769
https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/publications/is-12-13-
770
including-cald-communities.pdf (accessed 21 November 2018).
771
772
i
See UNISDR, https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/terminology. Accessed 21 November 2018.
ii
See http://www.gdacs.org. Accessed 21 November 2018.
... Defined as "a specific form of communication that overlaps with principles of risk communication as much as with principles of emergency planning and management" (O'Brien and Federici 2020, 130), crisis translation has emerged as a liminal space where principles and strategies of crisis communication and those of translation are in dynamic interaction. It is a point of contact between distinct yet interrelated disciplines such as disaster risk reduction, risk and crisis communication, and translation and interpreting studies (Federici and O'Brien 2020). Crisis translation is an interdisciplinary avatar of translation that calls for the engagement of policymakers, crisis managers, responders, and translators to address the immediate language needs of a crisis-hit community. ...
... Ultimately driven by a utilitarian approach, crisis translation concerns the immediate consumption of risk information by the target population to prevent the crisis risk and mitigate its cascading effects. Appeal, credibility, and accessibility of the information (Arkin 1989, Federici andO'Brien 2020), therefore, lie at the heart of crisis translation. ...
... Crisis managers and responders, therefore, should judiciously and strategically engage any bilingual who can transfer crisis information across languages and serve as a cultural mediator to mitigate vulnerabilities of affected communities. Such linguistic and cultural mediators can be professional translators, trained or ad hoc linguists, bilingual volunteers, citizen translators, and community translators (Federici andO'Brien 2020, O'Brien andFederici 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
As a means of overcoming language barriers, translation has the potential to communicate risk in multilingual crisis contexts. There are some studies related to crisis translation (Al-Shehari 2020, Drugan 2020, O’Brien and Cadwell 2017); however, there exists no comprehensive study that explores translation for risk communication in Nepal, which is the context of this study. The present study investigates the scope of translation in COVID-19 crisis management policies and its role in communicating risk information in health and education sectors. This qualitative case study examined policy documents and guidelines concerning health and education, analyzed COVID-19-related documents (re)produced by different national and international organizations in Nepal, and interviewed four officials of such organizations and 10 end users. The findings indicate that translation plays an important, but an unacknowledged role in COVID-19 crisis communication in Nepal. Despite the lack of policy-level recognition, different forms of translation, viz. overt, covert and intersemiotic constitute an integral part of crisis communication. This study is expected to help policymakers and crisis translators understand the values of translation during crises so that the potentials of translation can be exploited while developing crisis-related documents.
... Previous disaster studies have noted that 'language skills' is a major factors that contribute to social vulnerability (O'Brien & Federici, 2019), and the National Research Council have recognized warning dissemination as one of the main seven existing gaps in disaster studies (National Academies Press, 2011). Achieving effective communications and overcoming any language barriers have become the central concern of many disaster studies (O'Brien et al., 2018). ...
... Language is the most important tool for emergency communication (Bodenreider et al., 2019). Not being able to distribute critical disaster information and warnings is a matter of life or death (O'Brien & Federici, 2019). Hurricane Katrina has hit Latin communities harder than any other ethnic community in the US; most Latinos didn't as the storm warnings were broadcast mostly in English (Uekusa, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
APA Citation: Abukhalaf, A. H. I. (2022). Improving Crisis Management in the United States by Eliminating Disaster Language-Based Discrimination from Local Emergency Communication. Academia Letters. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL4999
... The role of translation in a crisis has gained attention among TS scholars O'Brien and Federici, 2019). Previous studies had concerned MT in assisting health communication Dew et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on one basic question: how accurate and adequate are the three MT tools, namely Google Translate, Bing and Systran, in generating Covid-19 terms? It measures mainly the accuracy and adequacy of Covid-19 terms translated by three popular MT tools between English and Indonesian. Data analysis is conducted manually through human evaluation toward translation products by using a translation rubric. The assessment includes several samples covering the level of words, sentences and paragraphs. All samples are purposively retrieved from the Coronavirus Corpus and are translated by using the three MT tools. Two raters are involved to analyze texts at sentence and paragraph levels. The raters are used to provide the credibility of translation texts analysis. Results showed that the three MT tools produce different language accuracy and adequacy in revealing COVID-19 terms. Translating noun and pronoun in particular context from English into Indonesian language still remains unclear. This may affect paragraph cohesion. Furthermore, even though these MT tools successfully translate a number of English words into Indonesian, several of the words cited are officially absent in the Great Indonesian Dictionary. This gap raises confusion for Indonesian readers whose English is not sufficient to understand the lexical meaning. In this case, the study highlights the importance of updating the words data base. As this article implements an evaluation translation method, the goal is to produce some recommendations that may be useful for several parties: reader of target language, MT’s developer, linguist and government.
... DOI: 10.1075/lplp.21002.tes 2 In his publication on the missing link between language policy and the United Nations' development agenda, Mark Fettes (2015) argued that if the field of language policy and planning (LPP) 'is to take the equality challenge seriously', research needs to shift from theoretical discussions to addressing 'the practical challenges of linguistic inclusion in modern multicultural societies'. Fettes (2015) argued that while scholars have conducted various case studies on official language policy in UN institutions (Borjian 2014 In recent years, issues of language and translation in the work of INGOs have started to be raised in various humanities disciplines, such as disaster management, development studies, sociolinguistics and translation studies (Codó and Garrido 2010;Footitt, Crack, and Tesseur 2020;Garrido 2017;Kahn and Heller 2006;O'Brien et al. 2018;O'Brien and Federici 2019;Roth 2019;Tesseur 2018). Research has found that INGOs often do not plan for language and translation needs in their international development and humanitarian operations, and that they tend to opt for ad-hoc translation solutions in which multilingual This is the author accepted manuscript of: Wine Tesseur. ...
Article
Full-text available
International NGOs (INGOs) are important agents in delivering the UN’s sustainable development agenda, but their linguistic practices have received little attention in the field of language policy and planning. This article aims to add new insights to the field by exploring the link between INGOs’ organisational value of inclusiveness and their institutional approaches to translation. It does so through a case study of Oxfam GB’s and Tearfund’s translation policy documents. The analysis reveals that the policy documents focus on written translation into a handful of lingua francas. In other words, they largely overlook the need for interpreting and translation from and into local languages. In addition, the policy documents do not make any overt links between principles of (linguistic) inclusiveness and the need for translation. The article summarises the advantages and drawbacks of creating a translation policy, and provides guidance on linking translation policy more overtly to values of inclusiveness.
Article
Emergency language service plays an indispensable role in effective emergency management when dealing with public health crisis like COVID-19. As an emerging research focus in the field of applied linguistics and emergency management, emergency language service has received great attention of scholars from across the world. Drawing on the studies of emergency language service in the existent literature and practices in different contexts, this article firstly reviews a variety of definitions, research subject and range of emergency language service. Then, a comparative analysis of emergency language services in the US, Japan and China is carried out. Finally, the article points out the limitations of studies of emergency language service in the existing literature and puts forward some suggestions for future research.
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the importance of proper communication for public health, especially in multilingual contexts where speakers of minority languages have not had proper access to information in their languages, like indigenous peoples. Different approaches have been taken at national, regional, and local levels in this regard. In Peru, the COVID-19 pandemic enhanced the need for a government-driven provision of translation and interpreting in indigenous languages, especially in health care services. To that end, the Peruvian Government created a Centre of Interpreting and Translation in Indigenous Languages, a leading experience in the region. This paper aims at providing an overview of its implementation process through the analysis of the regulations behind it and the provided assistance a year after being launched to try to identify the possible implications of such implementation on how public service interpreting and translation in indigenous languages can move towards an articulated model of government-driven language services.
Article
Full-text available
The complexity of disasters creates a significant challenge in the knowledge acquisition of the public. With the development of geospatial technologies, maps, geographic information science, and virtual geographic environments are widely used to represent disaster information and help the public better understand disaster risk. However, the application, design, and specific challenges have not been investigated comprehensively in disaster information representation thus far. This article presents the weaknesses and strengths of the existing methods for representing disaster information in recent decades, and then gives some basic ideas for efficient disaster knowledge communication. The objective of this article is to provide a clear image that improves users’ understanding of disaster information and bridge the communication gaps in disaster management.
Chapter
Identifying the background of the audience and tailoring messages to reflect their linguistic and cultural values are among the key considerations that, according to the World Health Organization Communication Framework (2017), should be made by communicators and policymakers to guarantee an effective health awareness campaign. This chapter analyses translations into Arabic of a number of English Covid-19 awareness posters issued by the Government of New South Wales, through the lenses of Postcolonial Theory of Translation. Assessing several information sheets in translation, the chapter scrutinises how the chosen renderings manifest a degree of linguistic hegemony. Through its analysis of examples of hegemonic influences on the translations, the chapter argues that translation should stand beside world languages in their struggle for wider recognition.
Chapter
Risk communication relies on credibility and trust. Communicators create credibility in their discourse by using a range of discursive strategies such as transparency, empathy, accepting uncertainty, and collaborating with credible sources. The chapter uses a corpus of 297 official statements and 23 press conferences issued by the Omani Covid-19 Supreme Committee over a period of 11 months from January 2020 to February 2021 and their official translations into English. All official statements in Arabic and English are analysed to identify the expressions that directly or indirectly build credibility, and in turn trust. The discussion is contextualized against the linguistic diversity of Oman, putting forward considerations regarding the trust-building strategy of bilingual communication for increased credibility and its effectiveness among foreign nationals who do not speak Arabic or English.
Chapter
This chapter contributes to the broader discussion of the role of translation in the communication of health risks and circulation of health narratives in Argentina. While COVID-19-related scientific advancements, risk protocols, and recommendations made in Argentina are communicated in Spanish in nationwide newspapers, a relevant portion of the COVID-19 findings and debates are introduced through translations of materials originally disseminated in English. The chapter seeks to investigate the specific role of translation in communicating risks locally. The corpus for this study consists of news articles published online in Clarín, La Nación, Infobae, Página 12, and Perfil. Additionally, English articles from The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, and The Guardian were selected to show how lexical debates and public health debates were introduced through translation.
Research
Full-text available
The 53 countries of the WHO European Region have a population of almost 920 million, representing nearly a seventh of the world’s population; international migrants make up almost 10% (90.7 million) in the Region and account for 35% of the global international migrant population (258 million). The proportion of international migrants, including refugees, in Member States of the Region varies from more than 50% in Andorra and Monaco to less than 2% in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland and Romania. As a consequence, displacement and migration-related programme and policy priorities may vary between Member States. Yet, every country today can be an origin, transit or a destination country for refugees and migrants, sometimes acting as more than one of these. As a result, the health of refugees and migrants has progressively emerged as a theme of common interest for all Member States. At present, there are no global or region-wide indicators or standards for refugee and migrant health, and no global or regional framework is currently implemented for the standardized and routine collection of data. This leads to a shortage of scientifically valid and comparable health data on refugee and migrant populations. Across the WHO European Region, there are fundamental differences in the way health services are organized, financed and governed for the population as a whole, with health policies for refugees and migrants adding a further layer of complexity. Differences exist between countries in access requirements to health services and the level of implementation of regionally agreed strategies, recommendations and policies, particularly for migrants in an irregular situation (irregular migrants). In general, regional health policies recommend or define that emergency and urgent care should be available to all refugees and migrants throughout the Region, regardless of legal status. Improving health for all and reducing health inequalities are key parts of many WHO strategies, action plans and frameworks, both globally and regionally. This report is intended to create an evidence base to aid Member States of the WHO European Region and other national and international stakeholders in promoting refugee and migrant health by implementing the Strategy and Action Plan for Refugee and Migrant Health in the WHO European Region, which incorporates the priority areas listed in Health 2020, the WHO European Region’s policy framework for the promotion of equitable health and well-being.
Article
Full-text available
Translators and interpreters have been shown to play an important role in supporting the activities of NGOs involved in crisis communication scenarios. However, there is little evidence of whether standardized training materials or technological assistance are required by or would be beneficial to quickly recruited ‘citizen translators’ working in these environments. This article will present a study of the design, delivery, and preliminary evaluation of a set of training materials developed for use in a citizen translation project run by New Zealand Red Cross (NZRC) with the support of the EU H2020-funded International Network on Crisis Translation (INTERACT). The article describes the training materials and discusses the epistemological and didactic issues that were faced in their design and delivery. Findings from the article will be of interest to those seeking to understand citizen translation and issues involved in working with an NGO on translator training.
Chapter
Full-text available
As organizations involved in the 2014–2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response in West Africa are now drawing lessons from the crisis, the “manufacture of consent” (Burawoy 1979) emerges as an important issue. Recommendations and public health interventions developed during the response were met with suspicion and often resistances by affected populations, pushing involved organizations and actors to reflect about the validity of their risk communication tools and concepts. These difficulties stressed the numerous shortcomings of risk communication practices, which proved inefficient in an unfamiliar social and cultural context. Many reasons can be pointed-out to explain this failure to communicate risks and public health measures effectively under these circumstances. They include: unrealistic goals for communication; lack of integration of social science skills and knowledge in communication guidelines and human resources; underestimation of the breadth of communication-related tasks; over-segmentation and lack of clarity of communication concepts and expertise (risk communication, crisis communication, social mobilization, and health promotion are all but a few of these categories). Among all these possible lines of inquiry, I want to address what can arguably be considered the most fundamental flaw of crisis communication during the West African EVD episode: its inability to take into account and analyze efficiently the context of the intervention.
Article
Clear, timely and accurate information is recognised as strategically and operationally critical to disaster response effectiveness. Increasing cultural and linguistic diversity across the globe creates a demand for information to be available in multiple languages. This signifies a need for language translation to be a key element of disaster management. However, language translation is an underdeveloped tool in disaster management and has been a neglected topic in research. We analyse the disaster response approaches for five nations—Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, Japan and the USA—to determine the degree to which language translation is utilised. Taking the right to information as a starting point, we use a 4-A, rights-based analytic framework. Each approach is inspected for standards of Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Adaptability. The US has the strongest adherence to these standards while the other approaches are less developed. We suggest several principles for effective practice in providing language access services. PRE-PRINT HERE: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056024/
Chapter
Emergency and disaster planning involves a coordinated, co-operative process of preparing to match urgent needs with available resources. The phases are research, writing, dissemination, testing, and updating. Hence, an emergency plan needs to be a living document that is periodically adapted to changing circumstances and that provides a guide to the protocols, procedures, and division of responsibilities in emergency response. Emergency planning is an exploratory process that provides generic procedures for managing unforeseen impacts and should use carefully constructed scenarios to anticipate the needs that will be generated by foreseeable hazards when they strike. Plans need to be developed for specific sectors, such as education, health, industry, and commerce. They also need to exist in a nested hierarchy that extends from the local emergency response (the most fundamental level), through the regional tiers of government, to the national and international levels. Failure to plan can be construed as negligence because it would involve failing to anticipate needs that cannot be responded to adequately by improvisation during an emergency. Plans are needed, not only for responding to the impacts of disaster, but also to maintain business continuity while managing the crisis, and to guide recovery and reconstruction effectively. Dealing with disaster is a social process that requires public support for planning initiatives and participation by a wide variety of responders, technical experts and citizens. It needs to be sustainable in the light of challenges posed by non-renewable resource utilization, climate change, population growth, and imbalances of wealth. Although, at its most basic level, emergency planning is little more than codified common sense, the increasing complexity of modern disasters has required substantial professionalization of the field. This is especially true in light of the increasing role in emergency response of information and communications technology. Disaster planners and coordinators are resource managers, and in the future, they will need to cope with complex and sophisticated transfers of human and material resources. In a globalizing world that is subject to accelerating physical, social, and economic change, the challenge of managing emergencies well depends on effective planning and foresight, and the ability to connect disparate elements of the emergency response into coherent strategies.