COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is now officially a worldwide pandemic. Accurate, accessible information is our best weapon against this illness. Translation has the potential to make lifesaving information available to more people, but poor-quality translation can lead to harmful misperceptions. Providing accurate, reliable coronavirus information in different languages is vital to public health.
With that in mind, here is a collection of multilingual resources providing accurate, reliable information on COVID-19 in different languages. All of these resources are constantly being updated, with more multilingual information being added as the situation evolves. Check back frequently!
The World Health Organisation translates its main website into Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, and Spanish. The Regional Office for Europe also offers information in German. The African site is translated into Portuguese, as well. Additionally, online training is offered here in several different languages. The WHO also maintains a coronavirus news map that maps news and stories on the coronavirus from publically available websites around the world.
If you’re looking for resources in one of these languages, the WHO site is probably your best bet for current information about the illness and its spread around the globe.
The UK has made guidance on social distancing and how to protect vulnerable people available in Arabic, Bengali, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh,
The Australian Department of Health maintains regularly updated factsheets and other information on the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, with information in Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Dutch, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesia, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Macedonian, Maltese, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Vietnamese.
These sites feature health information in French, including updates and information on COVID-19.
Centres for Disease Control (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control has a dedicated website in Spanish as well as online copies of print resources available in other languages, including Spanish. French, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Portuguese, Dari, Farsi, Swahili, Vietnamese and Urdu.
We should note that the most current and detailed information on the CDC website is in English and Spanish, and there has been some criticism over how quickly the Spanish-language content has been updated. Additionally, material for many of these languages is limited to posters with basic advice about washing hands and covering sneezes.
If you’re looking for multilingual materials to share with friends and family in the United States, we recommend checking government websites for their specific states and the closest big cities. The depth and quality of information may vary. However, many state and local governments are making an effort to provide at least some information in community languages.
The NHS has not yet made coronavirus-related material available online in languages other than English. That said, they do have a collection of COVID-19 resources available in accessible formats, including printable easy read and large print posters, social media animations in BSL, audio files and ordering information for materials in Braille.
British Sign Language Information from the NHS
These BSL videos explain how to avoid coronavirus infection and how to self-isolate.
Multilingual COVID-19 Information Government of Ontario
The government of Ontario provides a fact sheet about the coronavirus in 28 languages, including First Nations languages.
Looking for current multilingual COVID-`19 information? Try Wikipedia.
Yes, Wikipedia. No, really. Despite a somewhat dodgy reputation, the site’s volunteer editors have made a point of keeping coronavirus-related pages as updated and reliable as possible. They’ve also been translated into over one hundred different languages, including many languages that are normally under-represented on the Internet. For example, a team of Indian volunteers is making coronavirus-related information accessible in Hindi and a variety of Indian regional languages like Bengali, Tamil, and Kannada.
To find content in your language, visit the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic page, then select your desired language from the language settings menu on the bottom left side of your screen.
This page links to information on the coronavirus outbreak from various Finnish government and media sources. Most items are in Finnish, Easy Read Finnish, Swedish and English. With that said, there are also links to resources in other languages including Arabic, Somali, Kurdish and Persian.
This tweet thread, from InfoFinland.fi, is geared toward Finnish citizens but contains material in languages including Somali, Russian and Arabic.
Coronavirus Information in Different Languages is Key to Fighting the Pandemic
Unfortunately, as the virus spreads, so do myths and misinformation. Translation has always been vital to public health. This has never been more true than it is right now. Poor quality translation will only increase the amount of false information that’s floating around, and make fighting the pandemic even more difficult.
We hope that more accurate, updated information will be made available in more languages, quickly, to help people from all backgrounds to protect themselves and their communities.