Download our COVID-19 glossary in 12 languages. Learn More →

COVID-19 Resources to Support Accurate Translation

Every day, news broadcasts detail the impact that coronavirus is having on communities. School districts send parents recorded messages with updates on closures. Professional organizations hold virtual town halls to discuss new ways of doing business. Civic websites share stay-at-home guidelines to slow the spread of the virus. The daily barrage of communications related to coronavirus is overwhelming for many of us. But for the millions of Americans who do not speak proficient English, language is an added hurdle.

translation to support employees, clients, and the community

One in five U.S. residents speaks a language other than English at home. And some of the most linguistically diverse areas of the country—Seattle, New York, New Orleans—have been the first to confront the most serious coronavirus outbreaks.

There is an immediate need to keep non-English-speaking members of the community informed about public health guidelines. People need to understand social distancing protocols, and what to do if they get sick. There is also an acute need for people in affected areas to remain informed about unemployment, housing rights, meal distribution, and other community resources. Without access to dependable information that they can understand, limited English proficient individuals are at risk of not understanding the steps they must take to protect themselves and their communities.

The pandemic also impacts the daily interactions businesses have with their employees, clients, and communities. Companies are reinventing their businesses, testing new processes, and rolling out the training needed to get staff up and running fast. For many, this means translating company-wide communications into multiple languages.

Translating COVID-19-related materials poses challenges. The pandemic introduced specific terms and phrases that must be translated effectively and used consistently.

COVID-19 glossary in 12 languages

SARS-CoV-2. Flattening the curve. Dry cough. Social distancing measures. Over the past weeks, we have all become overly familiar with the new coronavirus lexicon. But not all words can be easily translated into other languages. Organizations are now faced with the challenge of communicating many new COVID-19-related concepts. This process entails establishing the most appropriate translations for specific terms and phrases, and using them consistently across materials.

At Eriksen, we understand that organizations strive to protect their workers and support their communities. We want to do our part to help get timely, consistent messaging to the people who need it. Our team has compiled a COVID-19-related glossary in 12 languages and made it available for download. We assembled this resource with the hope that it will help organizations efficiently translate critical coronavirus-related information and achieve consistent messaging. While it was initially developed to support the hardest-hit regions, our glossary is now available to anyone who could benefit.

The COVID-19 glossary has been translated into 12 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese–Simplified, Chinese–Traditional, French, Greek, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. We will update the glossary as new terms arise, so it can serve as a dynamic resource.

Download the COVID-19 glossary here in PDF format.

Download the COVID-19 glossary here in Excel format.

Access the COVID-19 glossary in Google Docs.

A glossary is a valuable linguistic resource as it provides a central, searchable place to store approved translations. When a glossary is compiled, translations for specific phrases are established and approved upfront. Then, translators are prompted to use the pre-approved terms when they appear in the text. This system helps achieve accurate, consistent translations across materials, ultimately improving uniformity and impact in messaging.

information and resources

To accompany the glossary, listed below are websites that provide additional resources to help organizations keep informed and respond to the challenges they’re facing.

World Health Organization—global updates, public advice, and travel recommendations pertaining to coronavirus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Resources for Businesses and Employers—information to help companies plan, prepare, and respond to coronavirus.

National Council of Nonprofits: Nonprofits and Coronavirus, COVID-19—resources to help nonprofits prepare for and respond to the pandemic.

American Alliance of Museums: COVID-19 Resources & Information for the Museum Field—to help museums prepare internally and externally for outbreaks in their communities and navigate the disease’s broader impact.

Resources, information, and guidelines provided by the most impacted states’ departments of health:

New York

New Jersey













supporting effective, efficient communications

The current pandemic, like other public health crises, introduces new terminology. When words are clearly defined, we can all establish a common ground. We hope that by making this glossary available, we can facilitate the expeditious translation of coronavirus-related communications so that important information can reach the people who need it—fast.

As you develop the resources you need to support your employees, clients, and communities—we’re here to help.

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