Translation During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nepal

Performance Without Recognition



crisis translation, covert and overt translation, COVID-19 pandemic, intersemiotic translation, risk communication


As a means of overcoming language barriers, translation has the potential to communicate risk in multilingual crisis contexts. There are some studies related to crisis translation (Al-Shehari 2020, Drugan 2020, O’Brien and Cadwell 2017); however, there exists no comprehensive study that explores translation for risk communication in Nepal, which is the context of this study. The present study investigates the scope of translation in COVID-19 crisis management policies and its role in communicating risk information in health and education sectors. This qualitative case study examined policy documents and guidelines concerning health and education, analyzed COVID-19-related documents (re)produced by different national and international organizations in Nepal, and interviewed four officials of such organizations and 10 end users. The findings indicate that translation plays an important, but an unacknowledged role in COVID-19 crisis communication in Nepal. Despite the lack of policy-level recognition, different forms of translation, viz. overt, covert and intersemiotic constitute an integral part of crisis communication. This study is expected to help policymakers and crisis translators understand the values of translation during crises so that the potentials of translation can be exploited while developing crisis-related documents. 

Author Biographies

Bal Ram Adhikari, Tribhuvan University

a PhD in Translation Studies from Tribhuvan University Nepal, a lecturer in English Education at Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tribhuvan University    

Sagun Shrestha, Dublin City University

a PhD candidate, School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS)