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The role of translators and interpreters in cascading crises and disasters: towards a framework for confronting the challenges

Alexander, D; Pescaroli, G; (2019) The role of translators and interpreters in cascading crises and disasters: towards a framework for confronting the challenges. Disaster Prevention & Management 10.1108/DPM-12-2018-0382. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Purpose – This paper explains the significance of cascading crises for translators and interpreters, and how their work may be affected by such events. It provides a theoretical basis for analysis and field practice. Design/methodology/approach – We define cascades and explain how they influence the development of preparedness, mitigation and response. We identify key drivers of cascading crises and discuss how they challenge conventional approaches to emergency management. We discuss ways in which use of language could be a key factor in crisis escalation. We define priorities and operational challenges of cascading crises for translators and interpreters. In terms of methodology, this paper develops a conceptual framework that can be used for future enquiry and case history analysis. Findings – We provide a qualitative description and synthesis of the key instructions to be used in the field. We offer a short list of key questions that can be referred to by linguists and scholars. We identify situations in which translation and interpretation are important ingredients in the success of emergency preparedness and response efforts. These include multilingual populations, migrant crises, international humanitarian deployment, and emergency communication during infrastructure failures. Research limitations/implications – This work has academic value for the process of understanding cascades and practical relevance in terms of how to deal with them. Practical implications – Translators and interpreters need to understand cascading crises in order to be prepared for the challenges that such events will present. Social implications – Society has become more complex and interconnected, with non-linear cascading escalation of secondary emergencies. Emergency planners and responders need to address this in new ways. Effective communication and information strategies are essential to the mitigation of cascading disaster risk. Originality/value – The study of cascading crises from a socio-economic point of view is relatively new, but it is important because society is increasingly dependent on networks that can propagate failure of information supply.

Type: Article
Title: The role of translators and interpreters in cascading crises and disasters: towards a framework for confronting the challenges
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1108/DPM-12-2018-0382
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-12-2018-0382
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cascading crises, Disasters, Information, Communication, Translation, Interpretation.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10078524
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