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‘Translate Covid-19 SMSs into 7 local languages’

TROY MUKUPA writes

THE Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Information should make available electronic messages (SMS) on Covid-19 sensitisation in in 7 local language and not just Bemba and Nyanja, the Translators Association of Zambia has said.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation, Translators Association President, Tobias Kakoma said the association had observed with concern that the current electronic messages being received by the people were in Bemba and Nyanja leaving out the other five main local languages of Zambia.

He said the sensitisation programme would only be made easier once all seven local languages were included.

“In Africa we have limited vocabulary and this is why we as an association are appealing to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information to look into it that the sensitisation messages on Covid-19 should include all seven local languages of Zambia. Right now we only have Bemba and Nyanja doing rounds, what of the other five local languages?” Mr Kakoma asked.

And Mr Kakoma said the translation done on the Nyanja and Bemba electronic message being received by the public from the Ministry of Health was done poorly as it had English words that make it difficult for some locals to understand.

“There is a sensitisation message in Nyanja being received from Ministry of Health which says Zisungeni NdiMetre, Metre is not a local language, it’s English.  

“How will an old woman in Shangombo get to know what metre is? the translation was done poorly.”

Meanwhile, Mr Kakoma has urged the interpreters and translators of languages to work with the Ministry of Health together with the Ministry of Information so as to get more information on signs, effects and preventive measures of Covid-19 pandemic.

He said it was important that they got correct information on Covid-19 as this would make sensitisation easier for them as they go out to the public in the languages they understand.

“Get more information on the signs, effects and preventive measures of Covid-19 so as to satisfy the public with the information they need. Once you are equipped with the correct information, it will be easier to go out to the public and sensitise them in the languages they understand well,” he urged.

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