Lost in translation – Supporting BAME communities during the COVID crisis and beyond

When the news broke back in April that initial data recorded from UK hospitals indicated that BAME individuals were disproportionality affected by COVID-19, there was a sense of uneasiness in the language industry. As an industry which works with many BAME communities, these statistics were worrying.

Data recorded from the first 2,000 patients diagnosed in the ICU showed that 35% were of non-white ethnicity, nearly triple the 13% proportion in the UK population on a whole.

Now, two months on, more information has come to light as Public Health England released a draft of their second review on the subject in the same number of months. Sadly, this review has pointed towards discrimination as a factor in the disparity in the death rate in the UK.

The language industry has the opportunity to make a huge, positive, impact on the future health and safety of BAME communities. With Dr Chaand Nagpul, chair of the BMA, questioning whether enough was being done to support these communities with document translation, the role the industry must play is clear.

Can Document Translation Save Lives?

In a bid to combat the disparity in infection rates and to reach out to these communities, we have created a resource containing translated versions of essential guidance on COVID-19 in our most requested languages. This resource covers many topics, but is not limited to:

The guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection and how to isolate is particularly valuable in this case, as housing surveys carried out over the past decade have indicated that over-crowding of households is notably prevalent in various BAME communities which appears to lead to increased rates of infection.

Translation of speciality documents isn’t the only thing that we have offered during the crisis to support BAME communities.

  • Same-day document translation is available in our core languages, allowing important information to be sent out to patients urgently.
  • Unlimited 24/7 access to remote interpreting services meaning non-English speaking service users can access emergency assistance in a crisis.
  • Continued availability of face to face interpreters, as we understand the necessity of using an in-person interpreter should the situation call for it.

Beyond COVID-19, there is a well-documented history of ethnicity as a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The continued support of the language industry by translating documentation, information leaflets, and advertisements is essential in ensuring no community is left marginalised by health and social care.

Here at Word360, we have always been advocates for inclusivity and accessibility within the NHS and social care settings. Providing communication support has been at the heart of the company since the beginning, and the support we offer to BAME and non-English speaking communities will continue during the COVID crisis and far beyond.

If you would like to enquire about our translation or spoken-language interpretation, contact us on 0121 554 1981 or email at getintouch@word360.co.uk

Written by Portia C

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