We are truly living through unprecedented times. The Coronavirus has spread across the world in a matter of months. Right now, in Ireland, non-essential workers are expected to work from home if possible. Creches, schools and universities are closed. Courts are implementing social distancing measures. Hospitals are concentrating on dealing with Coronavirus cases. Our whole world has been turned upside down.
ITIA Covid-19 survey
We knew that our members, both translators and interpreters, would be negatively impacted by this situation. To find out more about what was going on, we surveyed our members in early April 2020. A total of 111 people completed the questionnaire and we have now compiled the results of this survey.
ITIA letter to An Taoiseach
On 3rd April, the Irish government introduced a Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the self-employed. This measure was very welcome, but we learned that some of our members were deemed eligible while others were not. The issue seemed to be that some applicants were still doing some translation or interpreting work. Clearly, our members hope to get back to work after the pandemic and wish to keep some clients if at all possible. It does not make sense for them to stop working completely. We were in contact with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) about this issue by email but did not receive any real answer to our questions. We then decided to send a letter to the Taoiseach and to Regina Doherty, the relevant minister. We invited the Council of Sign Language Interpreters (CISLI) and the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC Ireland) to join us because their members face the same problem. Thanks to Monika Kokoszycka, Marie Delumeau and Louise Jarvis of AIIC UK and Ireland, and to Leanne Saurin, Amanda Mohan and Suzanne Carey of CISLI for their work on the joint letter.
FIT Europe activities in relation to Covid-19
In addition to the ITIA survey, we were in contact with you about similar survey by FIT Europe. Annette Schiller, chairperson of FIT Europe and a member of the ITIA executive committee, was very involved in this initiative. You can find further information about the FIT Europe activities on their blog, in particular:
- Blog post about how Covid-19 is impacting independent translation and interpreting professionals
- Blog post about measures around Europe in response to Covid-19 to support interpreters and translators
By Mary Phelan, ITIA Chairperson