A few weeks ago we introduced a new SOAS World Languages Institute project on the ELAR Blog: virALLanguages. Before the ELAR Blog goes on its summer break, here’s an update on how virALLanguages has evolved over the last couple of months.
virALLanguages is a volunteer-run project initiated by the SOAS World Languages Institute and the KPAAM-CAM Project at the University of Buffalo, SUNY. The project facilitates the production of videos containing reliable and memorable information about COVID-19 in marginalised languages of the world.
The virALLanguages team has grown, incorporating members of the linguistics department at the University of Hawai’i at Manōa. Thanks to the Indonesian team, the virALLanguages website is now available in Bahasa Indonesian in addition to English and French.
- virALLanguages has created over 60 videos in addition to audio files in more than 40 languages spoken in Cameroon, Pakistan, Ghana, Chad, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, China, Russia, Indonesia, and diaspora communities around the world
- Almost 6000 views on the virALLanguages YouTube Channel over the last three months
- Thousands of speakers of marginalised languages reached via facebook and videos that are downloaded and shared through messaging apps
Types of videos
In addition to basic information about COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread, virALLanguages has recently begun to disseminate videos about first-hand experiences with the virus from health professionals and survivors, as well as videos by diaspora speakers of marginalised languages.
virALLanguages in the Media
The project has sparked a lot of attention, and was mentioned in several international media outlets, such as The Communication Initiative, Diari De La Llengua, and Global Voices. In a Wired article titled ‘COVID-19 is History’s biggest Translation Challenge‘, Gretchen McCulloch describes virALLanguages as producing videos in marginalised languages ‘starring well-known community members as local influencers‘.
How can you become involved?
If you work with or are part of a community speaking a marginalised language, who would benefit from receiving information in their language, get in touch with virALLanguages!