Hello/Bonjour Won't Cut It in a Health Crisis [chapter]

Renée Desjardins
2022 Translation and Social Media Communication in the Age of the Pandemic  
When COVID-19 had affected nearly all corners of the world, news stories began to report the pandemic's unequal effects on different demographics. In Canada, one of the largest initial outbreaks took place in Alberta in April 2020. The outbreak took hold in a meatprocessing plant where a percentage of the workforce was 'staffed by people born and raised abroad', including temporary foreign workers and workers from the Filipino community in the province (Baum et al. 2020; Babych 2020) . Language
more » ... barriers were one of the challenges that led to 921 cases of COVID-19 at the Cargill High River plant: 'Bulletin-board postings and letters to employees were provided only in English, causing confusion about compensation, isolation protocols and eligibility for paid time off, workers said' (Baum et al. 2020) . What this example speaks to is the fact that crisis 1 itself is not necessarily discriminatory: arguably, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, to varying degrees. However, the pandemic did underscore and continues to underscore 'inequitable policies and institutions that place those already at risk'-such as the meat-processing workers at the Cargill High River plant-'in perilous positions' (Clark-Ginsberg and Petrun Sayers 2020: 482). Indeed, when larger corporate or public communication strategies and language policy ignore the importance and value of translation, interpretation and multilingual communication, the burden is placed on already disadvantaged groups 'to bear the brunt of COVID-19 information insufficiency and misinformation' (Clark-Ginsberg and Petrun Sayers 2020: 482). For example, the Cargill High River employees combatted information insufficiency by
doi:10.4324/9781003183907-6 fatcat:uou6e42pvjevvdiohwiejd2c3a