[CFP] Localization in Healthcare and Medical Settings in the advent of COVID-19

The Journal of Internationalization and Localization (JIAL) Special Issue 2021, 8(2)

In the year of the pandemic, the relevance of translation and localization has deepened despite the reduced physical movements of people and goods curtailing some aspects of globalization (Post COVID19 Globalization 2020). In making the case for translation in the public health crisis of COVID-19, McCulloch (2020) highlights “how important language is for health”, hence suggesting COVID-19 is “History’s Biggest Translation Challenge”. The call for participation in international workshops such as “The Languages of Covid-19: Implications for Global Healthcare” by the Institute of Modern Languages Research further highlighted the significance of translation and language in the pandemic. Similarly, 2020 saw timely special issues of journals calling for papers on topics related to languages in the context of COVID-19 such as “Linguistic diversity in a time of crisis: Language challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic” by Multilingua and “Discourse and Rhetoric amid COVID 19 Pandemic: Dis/Articulating The ‘New Normal’” by Rhetoric and Communications. In the past three issues of the Journal of Internationalization and Localization (JIAL), we incorporated impacts of COVID-19 on translation and localization. Adding to the growing research on crisis translation (e.g. O’Brien and Federici 2019), these discussions highlighted some of the challenges, including the problem of misinformation acutely felt by a crisis translation team in Wuhan (Peng 2019, 97) and the question of (dis)trust in translation (O’Hagan, McDonough Dolmaya and Kockaert 2019, 70). The pandemic demonstrated the critical importance of health and other related information to reach everyone, including speakers of minority and indigenous languages (Anichini and Nemeth 2020). Focused on the question of specific locality, Bowker’s (2020) case study compared key COVID-19 terminology in French between Europe and Canada, showing regional variations and how they were derived. The article brought home the inherent challenges involved in localization when weighing local factors and global standards, which Bowker found are further complicated by urgency and the “language situation” in terms of majority vs minority, not to mention the role played by the popular media.

At the time of writing in December 2020 the pandemic is still ongoing in varying degrees of containment in different parts of the world. Several vaccines are in the process of being rolled out with a number of countries starting immunisation of targeted populations this month. There is no doubt that into 2021 these developments will involve cross-lingual communication of many kinds in the process of developing, delivering and administering vaccines and associated activities on a global scale.

In this milieu of a public health crisis this special issue of JIAL embraces a broader sense of “localization” in an attempt to provide a forum to raise awareness of the role of translation and localization and explore untapped issues which arise from a broad range of medical and healthcare settings in the COVID19 context. These may relate to medical equipment, services or research, as well as communication between health professionals and patients online and offline, with media or involving government policies as well as community engagement. Given the extent of the global impact of COVID19, areas which call for translation and localization within medical and healthcare settings are broad and varied.

The suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

• Localization challenges for making medical equipment or related apps available in different
• Translation issues arising from clinical trials
• Localization strategies used by different industry groups or humanitarian organizations
• Localization involving languages of limited diffusion or indigenous languages
• Timeliness and flexibility in localization processes and tools
• Machine Translation in translation and localization
• Non-professional or volunteer translation and localization

We invite both industry professionals and scholars working in academia to submit unpublished, original 6,000-8,000-word articles. Given the dynamically changing industry, the special issue will be published expediently, in late 2021: Volume 8, Issue 2.

For more details, please visit: https://www.benjamins.com/series/jial/callforpapers_jial_8-2.pdf