Article published in:Ethics of Non-Professional Translation and Interpreting
Edited by Esther Monzó-Nebot and Melissa Wallace
[Translation and Interpreting Studies 15:1] 2020
► pp. 57–79
Engaging citizen translators in disasters
Virtue ethics in response to ethical challenges
Crisis situations, including disasters, require urgent decisions, often without sufficient resources, including decisions about translating and interpreting. We argue that using citizen translators (i.e., translators without professional translator training) in such contexts can be ethically justified when their preparation incorporates virtue ethics. Translation potentially improves access to crucial safety information, and delivering such information is critical. We acknowledge several ethical challenges with citizen translation based on our experience in humanitarian contexts, relevant literature, and discussions with stakeholders engaged with our research consortium. Recourse to citizen translators has limitations, but we advance mitigation measures through training to address the ethical challenges of providing translation services to linguistically diverse groups in crisis. We propose virtue ethics as a framework for citizen translators to develop ethical decision-making skills and virtues. We suggest virtue ethics training to prepare citizen translators for ethical challenges in the field.
Keywords: citizen translation, non-professional translation, crisis translation, translation in humanitarian settings, virtue ethics, translator training
Published online: 11 February 2020
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