Is Environmental Translation More Important Than Ever?

Published on April 20th, 2023

In the words of NASA, “there is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate”. The US agency agrees with most international bodies, that “human activity is the principal cause” of global warming with many calculations predicting we’re on the verge of a point of no return.

During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, translation played a crucial role in the world’s collaborative response to the biggest health crisis in living history. As the climate crisis intensifies, language services will play an equally important role in our next moves as a global society.

The need for specialist environmental translation services

The climate emergency requires a depth and variety of expertise – environmental scientists, meteorologists, data analysts, researchers, oceanographists, geologists and many more.

That doesn’t even scratch the surface of expertise required to understand the climate crisis, let alone take action! This includes policymakers, economists, engineers, architects, legal experts and many more, once again.

As a result, environmental translation services require language experts with a similar depth and variety of knowledge. Of course, you need translators with a strong understanding of climate science. However, you will also need translators with expertise in other fields at various stages of a project – legal expertise, architectural design, finance, etc.

Large-scale projects will often need an entire team of translators and language experts to handle every aspect of content production.

This could be one of the most specialised translation services that exist – not to mention the most important, along with Life Sciences and medical translation.

What will environmental & sustainability translation services look like?

This will vary from one project to the next, and the variety of projects is immense. We are talking about intergovernmental liaisons, ground-breaking legislation, cutting-edge technology development and vast engineering projects.

At the opposite end of the scale, we have the translation of public emergency information, marketing campaigns to eco-consumer products, as well as translations of terms and conditions for insurance policies in the age of climate crisis and a variety of other applications too.

The climate emergency is so severe and pervasive that it will affect every aspect of our lives.

As a result, it will also shape the application of translation services in almost every possible use case. It is impossible to list every individual case in this article, but here are some good examples of use cases:

  • Global cooperation: As seen during the early Covid-19 pandemic response, expert translation will facilitate international cooperation, collaboration, research and responses to the climate crisis.
  • Multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs): International bodies will have to negotiate and agree on top-level commitments to deal with the climate emergency.
  • Legislation & regulations: The complex process of developing legislation and regulations will require extensive legal translation.
  • Finance and investment: The financial implications of both mitigation efforts and effects of the climate crisis across different regions will provoke some challenging conversations – especially with the inequality between nations producing the most emissions and suffering the worst effects.
  • Research and development: Every industry involved in the climate emergency has to conduct huge amounts of research and, in many cases; this is the first stage of larger development projects.
  • Technical instructions and documentation: Given the technical nature of everything involved in understanding and dealing with the climate crisis, technical translation will have to do a lot of heavy lifting.
  • Consumer messaging: Messaging at the consumer level is crucial for motivating change – something we are already seeing with electric cars, eco-services sustainable practices and plenty more.
  • Public emergency information: As floods, fires and other emergencies become more commonplace, the public needs access to a growing depth of information in multiple languages.
  • Natural disaster responses: With the frequency and intensity of natural disasters increasing, authorities have to step up their response efforts – many of which have little or no experience with major incidents.
  • Healthcare: The climate emergency is the biggest health crisis our species has ever faced and it will take an unprecedented effort from global bodies and organisations to deal with the implications.

With the scale of international cooperation required to deal with the climate crisis, environmental translation services and language experts will be heavily involved.

This starts with translating research findings and key information to make those accessible to everyone – crucial for driving collective innovation and understanding. It doesn’t end here, either. From product development and engineering projects to education, marketing, public information and more – translation will play a key role every step of the way.

If you need any of the translation services we have covered in this article or want to learn more about environmental translation and language services, we are here to help. Get in with us by filling out the form on our contact page and we will get back to you.

Posted on: April 20th, 2023