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‘Covid Message For All’ translates government guidance into multiple languages

PUBLISHED: 17:22 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:09 28 April 2020

Covid message for all aims to translate government guidelines into as many languages as possible. Picture: Youtube

Covid message for all aims to translate government guidelines into as many languages as possible. Picture: Youtube

Archant

An Ilford woman has started a translation initiative to convert the government’s Covid-19 guidelines into as many languages as possible to help people who do not speak English.

Poonam Parmar started the initiative after hearing news reports that people who don't speak English were not understanding the coronavirus government guidance. Picture: Poonam ParmarPoonam Parmar started the initiative after hearing news reports that people who don't speak English were not understanding the coronavirus government guidance. Picture: Poonam Parmar

Poonam Parmar, who works for the construction company Mace, decided to use her free time during the lockdown to help get information out to older and marginalized people.

She said: “I saw in the news that important messages about Covid-19 were inaccessible to diaspora communities and thought, this is something we can change.”

In 2019 Poonam started a diversity and inclusion network called EDIN and with the help of her cousin Sonam Kaur Parmar they tapped into that and other networks to find as many translators as possible.

Their friend Kayleena Razaram translated the guidelines into Mauritian Creole and brought in friends to translate other languages while Vasudev Tadavarthy reached out to his network in India to get translations into multiple Indian dialects.

The service is free and so far the group has translated the guidelines into 12 different languages and posted them on Youtube.

Poonam also set up the website covidmessageforall.com which has access to the full written translation of the guidelines and some further information on the virus in 45 different languages.

They have 15 translators volunteering their services and they are hoping to get more to be able to spread the message as wide as possible.

So far the guidelines have been translated to French, Hindi, Telugu, Italian, Punjabi, Bengali, Romanian, Marathi, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Mauritian Creole and Chinese Mandarin.

Poonam is hoping to have a five to seven-day turnaround from when the new guidelines are first published to when the videos are edited and uploaded.

She said: “We are looking to do a new recording for every update as I believe the phase out and anything after that will be just as important.”

The translated videos can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF3ecxn98xooZa5pOZ-Rafw or on their Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

If you want to volunteer to translate a new language email covidmessageforall@hotmail.com.


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