The pandemic has forced people and organizations all over the world to rethink the way they interact and communicate. Social distancing and lockdowns are forcing us to rely more heavily on digital technology and find new ways to engage and collaborate. While this new environment causes many challenges, it also offers the opportunity to better reach a global audience. Among our customers, key actors in international development are successfully tackling these challenges, finding new ways to plan existing projects, and we are noticing firsthand the role of language in this changing environment. Here are some key lessons we have learned from these customers on how translation can be used as a tool to adapt to a post-COVID world.
- A tool to define an effective global digital communication strategy
Translation is often considered an added feature to a website and comes after all the effort has been put in creating original content. This results in websites with attractive content in one language and incomplete or mistranslated content in the target languages. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, many of our customers with international missions are increasingly shifting from a focus on English to websites featuring high-quality translation (even of selected material) as a way to build partnerships, educate civil society groups, or get international media coverage.
- A tool to foster collaboration among intercultural teams
With restrictions on travels, organizations with teams in multiple corners of the globe are no longer able to meet and collaborate face to face. This can result in teams feeling isolated from the headquarters and affect their morale. Investing in translation as part of an internal communication strategy instead of relying on bilingual staff to relay key messages is a necessary tool to create a sense of belonging in a global team.
- A tool to network and share knowledge
International conferences, seminars and events are now held online. As the benefits of these digital communications platforms become apparent, it is likely that this format will continue to be used for the foreseeable future. While it takes more effort to network, and build partnerships with those virtual mediums, multilingualism is giving international development actors an opportunity to further expand their reach and increase their impact with shareable content that is culturally relevant.
In a world of limited social interactions, the use of translation is giving international organizations the opportunity to connect to a global audience and expand the reach of their missions. It is safe to say translation will remain a necessary tool and organizations investing in multilingual content now will reap the benefits for years to come.