Soldiers Lend Language Skills to Help Washington State Translate Coronavirus Safety Messages

National Guardsmen sit in front of computer screen editing safety fliers from english to other languages
A Guardsmen with the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion conducts translation work on a safety message regarding the best practices for avoiding the novel coronavirus for the Washington Department of Health on Feb. 9, 2020 at the Information Operations Readiness Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Credit: Joseph Siemandel

More than a dozen linguists assigned to the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion translated life safety and preparedness messages into multiple languages during February’s drill weekend to help people who don’t speak English figure out best practices for avoiding the novel coronavirus.

The Washington Emergency Management Division reached out to the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion to help with translations during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We completed a total of nine translations, which was more than we originally had planned for,” said Sgt. Sharon Gold, the state’s Command Language Program Management coordinator. She said Guard members “are always excited to take on these types of missions because they can help our state.”

Guard Soldiers translated fact sheets about the virus in Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Thai, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean. These fact sheets provide basic information regarding how you can prevent getting the virus.

“We knew the importance of this mission once it came to us,” said Lt. Col. Teresa Wenner, commander of the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion. “I asked the staff and soldiers to flex their schedules, and they were more than happy to accommodate. These Soldiers make an impact both locally and globally, and this is another way they make a real impact locally.”

The 341st is also undertaking a translation mission for the Emergency Management Division’s Limited English Proficiency program that would translate messages regarding numerous different emergencies.

Adapted from original article by Joseph Siemandel via DVIDS

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