Following president Ramaphosa’s pronouncement which declared Coronavirus (COVID-19) a national disaster on Sunday, 15 March 2020, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has noted concerns regarding information only being available in English. Therefore, in a bid to combat the spread of the virus by ensuring that South Africans have access to information on preventative and safety precautions in languages they understand, PanSALB has offered its services to translate all information related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is an effort to ensure that no one is marginalised in accessing information based on their language.
To that end, the institution has made available the translations of the pronouncement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on its social media platforms on the travel bans and safety precautions to ensure that all South Africans have access to information in languages they understand. PanSALB has placed a team of Chief Language Practitioners on standby to translate all messages that need to go out to the public, including South African Sign Language videos for the deaf community. Various stakeholders have also been engaged such as the National Film & Video Foundation for collaborations in order to ensure that messages of government’s response reach the different speech communities.
“This is a global pandemic affecting us all, it is crucial that we communicate to people in languages they understand” said the Acting Chief Executive Officer of PanSALB, Dr Tebogo David Maahlamela. He added that people need to have access to information in their mother tongue to avoid any misconstruing of messages sent out by government which could further exacerbate the spread of the virus. “This is a time to work together to ensure that we protect ourselves and those around us to mitigate the risk of infection by offering our expertise to curb the spread of the virus” concluded Dr Maahlamela.
The translations of the president’s pronouncements will be distributed in the different provinces and are available on all PanSALB social platforms such as Facebook: @pansalb, Twitter: @pansalb, Instagram: pansalb_za