Irma marks the second major hurricane to strike the United States in the past 30 days. Like Harvey, Hurricane Irma struck a heavily-populated, multicultural part of the country. And also like Harvey, translation has been essential in getting people out of the storm’s path, and in getting victims to safety.
In a situation like a hurricane, it’s essential that the government be able to communicate with its citizens. Communication errors can be deadly. And there’s no way around the need for translation. For instance, 72.8% of the 2.5 million people living in Miami don’t speak English at home. Most of these people (64%) speak Spanish. About half of those living in Spanish-speaking households also speak English “very well,” which means the other half does not.
Add in all of the other, smaller language groups and the need to reach the visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and you can imagine just how much language help is needed.
The effort hasn’t always gone as smoothly as it could have. With that in mind, here are 4 lessons on translation in times of crisis we can learn from Hurricane Irma.
On Translated Websites, User Experience Matters
According to The Atlantic, the non-English versions of the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website are plagued with broken links, as a result of a clash between the iFrame coding used on the site and the automated software used to translate it. Read more