By Moudachirou Gbadamassi, 9 March 2020
The covid-19 outbreak began in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million and the capital of Hubei province. More than 100 countries have confirmed new cases of the covid-19. The number of cases worldwide has increased to more than 109,000 resulting in more than 3,000 deaths globally. The impact of the epidemic is already visible everywhere.
As a result of the covid-19 epidemic which is in the brink of becoming a pandemic, many meetings and international events got cancelled or postponed until further notice, to the detriment of the conference industry. The United Nations canceled many meetings while postponing many others. The Islamic Development Bank postponed its annual meeting. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation postponed its Council of Foreign Ministers initially planned to be held on 3-4 April 2020. Such unfortunate examples are many. We are not too sure of what will happen or how things will go in the coming months. I think it will be a wise idea for us in the conference industry to consider saving money for the coming uncertain days.
The 2014 Ebola Virus Disease crisis taught me – and probably many colleague interpreters and translators in West Africa – a good lesson about saving for lean seasons. Due to the crisis in 2014, many West African countries cancelled the international meetings planned to be hosted on their territories by fear of the EVD and also because it was not politically correct to ask delegates from Ebola-affected countries not to come to those meetings. Interpreters (and translators to a lesser degree) in the region had been seriously affected by the drastic drop in earnings. Despite the EVD however, those who had substantial savings were able to keep their smile until the WHO declared the three countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) Ebola-free. It is my hope that the relentless efforts of the scientific community around the world will very soon yield concrete solutions to the covid-19 and get us back to the pleasure of the booths and other linguistic mediation exercises.
About the Author
Moudachirou Gbadamassi is an AIIC Conference interpreter, translator, life coach, author of the book « The Use of Proverbs in African Literature: the Case Study of A Dance of the Forests by Wole Soyinka ».
Thanks a million for drawing our attention on this unavoidable and terrible period which is actually much closer than one can imagine. EVD was indeed an unforgetable lesson.
Thank you for this initiative Mouda.
Your positve approach is very encouraging.
What strikes me however, is how because the effects are being felt in the western world, it has grabbed the attention of AIIC.
I didn’t get that impression when EVD was affecting West and Central African colleagues…
I am finding the airport temperature checks frightening as a person’s temperature can rise for any number of reasons, especially if you happen to be a woman.
I was recently stopped in transit at Nairobi airport traveling between Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. It was terrifying being put aside with a few others from my flight. My temperature was re-taken about 4 times before I was allowed to proceed. Of course I gave the health officers a piece of my mind saying well you should check my travel history at least before assuming the worst. Thankfully I wasn’t sneezing or coughing….
Bon piste de réflexion. Mise à part les pandémie l interprète de conférences surtout les freelancers, doit réfléchir non seulement sur comment organiser ses finances mais aussi investir dans des créneaux porteurs dans l optique de diversifier ses sources de revenus.