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Crisis translation: considering language needs in multilingual disaster settings

Sharon O’Brien (School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Federico Marco Federici (Centre for Translation Studies, University College London, London, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 3 September 2019

Issue publication date: 11 March 2020




The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role that language translation can play in disaster prevention and management and to make the case for increased attention to language translation in crisis communication.


The paper draws on literature relating to disaster management to suggest that translation is a perennial issue in crisis communication.


Although communication with multicultural and multilinguistic communities is seen as being in urgent need of attention, the authors find that the role of translation in enabling this is underestimated, if not unrecognized.


This paper raises awareness of the need for urgent attention to be given by scholars and practitioners to the role of translation in crisis communication.



The collaboration that led the authors to write this paper was initiated by the INTERACT Crisis Translation Network project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 734211.


O’Brien, S. and Federici, F.M. (2020), "Crisis translation: considering language needs in multilingual disaster settings", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 129-143.



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