5dez 2022
06:30 UTC

The role of documentary linguists in risk communication: the virALLanguagees project as a model for a hyper-collaborative approach

Documentary linguists do not usually engage in crisis and emergency risk communication. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the infodemic associated with it, the challenges faced when communicating risk in marginalised and minority languages became evident, as messages were either translated verbatim from a major language, thus ignoring communities’ communicative habits, or not translated into marginalised languages at all. The virALLanguages project brought together documentary linguists, speakers of marginalised languages and global health specialists, creating a network dedicated to communicating trustworthy messages around preventing the spread of COVID-19 in culturally appropriate ways.
Using the virALLanguages project as an example, we explore how documentary linguists can go beyond the typical scope of engaging and building relationships with the communities they work with, and how this may result in language work that is meaningful and important to all stakeholders involved.