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New initiative facilitates translation of COVID-19 information into Indigenous languages

"Since the pandemic began, many Indigenous Peoples have been left behind due to COVID-19 information not being accessible in their languages. Our goal is to bridge this gap by working directly with Indigenous community members to facilitate the translation of accurate COVID-19 information into their local languages."
By: Madeleine Hall
September 02, 2020
Photo: Sukhmeet Singh Sachal (Instagram)

A group of Canadian medical and public health students have co-founded Translations for our Nations, which works to translate important information related to the COVID-19 pandemic into Indigenous languages. The initiative was founded by Victor A. Lopez-Carmen, a Dakota and Yaqui medical student at Harvard Medical School, along with co-founders: University of British Columbia medical student Sukhmeet Singh Sachal, and University of Toronto Master of Public Health students Sterling Stutz and Thilaxcy Yohathasan.

"Since the pandemic began, many Indigenous Peoples have been left behind due to COVID-19 information not being accessible in their languages. Our goal is to bridge this gap by working directly with Indigenous community members to facilitate the translation of accurate COVID-19 information into their local languages," the team writes on their website.

The Translations for our Nations team consists of 120+ Indigenous translators from various Nations, community organizations, and countries around the world. To date, they have translated COVID-19 information into over 40 Indigenous languages, with materials being reviewed by physicians, medical students, and Indigenous youth leaders to ensure accuracy. The translated information is available for free online, and includes signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection, general information for Indigenous elders, and guides for travelling to cities and populated areas.

“Information is the most important element in fighting COVID-19 and most importantly adhering to the guidelines in order to make the world a better place! Together we can fight COVID-19,” writes Julius Riley, a Bemba Translator with the Translations for our Nations team.

Sources: Translations for our Nations, Instagram

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