Lack of Spanish translations for COVID-19 resources

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 5:32 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Flip a TV on or open up your computer, and you find information on the global Coronavirus pandemic from experts in an instant. But for many Spanish-speakers in Southwest Louisiana who can’t or have difficulties with English, information is not as easily accessible.

“My main concern that having people not being able to acquire the information required, it might put them at a risk for transmitting the disease to somebody else, just because they don’t know better, but not because they’re doing it on purpose,” said Dr. Carlos Choucino, Infectious Disease Specialist.

Due to the lack of mainstream means available to Spanish-speakers in Southwest Louisiana, Dr. Carlos Choucino has been trying to spread information through other avenues.

“We have used social media, specifically Facebook,” Choucino said. “There are some groups on Facebook that are able to link many of the Latinx people living in Southwest Louisiana and we have used it to deliver the message.”

The CDC does have a webpage translated in Spanish with information about the Coronavirus, but Choucino explains it’s difficult to find. There are websites and other national Spanish-speaking channels like Telemundo and Univision.

“You don’t have enough time exposures to them so they don’t know everything they’d like to,” Choucino said.

Dr. Choucino explains COVID-19 information in Spanish

Answers about employment during the pandemic are not easily accessible. The Labor Department is in the process of translating information into Spanish. Dalia Matheus, President, and CEO of Global Management Enterprise Inc in Lake Charles has been trying to answer questions she’s been receiving.

“They have been coming and asking what do they have to do and we have been giving them the different resources and websites where they can go and file for unemployment, but they need to be provided information in Spanish for them,” Matheus said. “It’s hard for our local community, and for the immigrant community it’s actually hardest.”

KPLC has begun translating some information in Spanish. You can find that information HERE.

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