The Covid-19 virus has affected the whole world, and the resulting long quarantine periods have affected many lines of business, including the translation industry. In this long ongoing period in which the entire world has been dealing with serious health problems, it has become crucial for everyone to reach accurate and reliable information. Thus, the translation industry has taken on a vital translation task in sharing information about the Covid-19 virus. This task, which requires seriousness and diligence, arose from the fact that most Covid-19-related updates shared around the world were written in English.
Translation of helpful information about the virus into a limited number of languages has resulted in people who do not speak these languages being unaware of recent developments and unable to interpret their symptoms. For example, World Health Organization, responsible for disseminating important information on Covid-19 worldwide, offers an online training called “Infection Prevention and Control of the Covid-19 Virus”. It is available in 23 languages, including Turkish. Translating this vital information into even more languages means helping more people. Under the various trainings shared by WHO about Covid-19 is the phrase “This translation has not been verified by WHO.” It also states that if there is any inconsistency in the translated text, one should stick to the original English version.
Covid-19 and Translation in Turkey
With the introduction of the virus into our lives, many new words such as “intubation, contact tracing, and pandemic”, which we had not encountered before, were added to our vocabulary. These words, mainly of English origin, confused everyone a little at first and encouraged us to learn their meanings. Translation came into play to follow the developments in the world and in Turkey. It has become crucial not to confuse the public with the new terms they encounter and prevent them from acquiring inaccurate information and passing it on to other people. At the beginning of the epidemic, even the name of the virus raised many questions in people’s minds. Everyone started going on different translation sites to find the Turkish equivalent of the word “Covid-19”. These examples from Turkey remind us of the translation crisis caused by Covid-19, the problems that may arise when this crisis is not handled properly, and the importance of medical translation.
What Has Covid-19 Changed in the Translation Industry?
We mentioned that with the emergence of Covid-19, the translation industry has taken on the responsibility of correctly translating life-saving information. So, what kind of changes did it create in the supply-demand dynamics of the translation industry in this rapidly digitalizing life? Firstly, the demand for translation in the tourism sector has fallen sharply due to worldwide travel restrictions. Social distancing and quarantine measurements have reduced the time people spend outside; thus, there has been a significant increase in translation demand from platforms that offer services such as games, TV shows, and movies. Netflix, whose number of users has increased significantly during the quarantine period, has to translate the countless new content they produce. The same situation has had a positive effect on the translation demand in the gaming industry. As a result, Covid-19 inflicted losses on the translation industry to a certain extent, but it compensated for these shortcomings and still does.