A Google-generated translation on the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) website told Spanish readers the COVID-19 vaccine was “not necessary.”
The translation in question was part of VDH’s Frequently Asked Questions page, where “the vaccine is not required” was translated as “la vacuna no es necesaria” (“the vaccine is not necessary”).
The Virginia Vaccination Advisory Workgroup raised concerns about the faulty translation during a meeting last week. Dr. Rebecca Vargas-Jackson, a member of the group, said her students at George Mason University were the first to bring it to her attention. Before the faulty translation, the English passage simply meant the vaccine wasn’t mandatory, Vargas-Jackson said.
“There is nothing worse than providing misleading information to people who are looking for some answers,” Vargas-Jackson said.
VDH stands by the translation.
“Many Spanish speakers do read this form as it was intended—namely, to make clear the vaccine is not mandatory and therefore will not be forced on anyone,” said Maria Reppas, director of communications for VDH.
VDH did not officially state that the website had been updated, but the translation on the site now reads: “La vacuna no será obligatoria para los virginianos y no existen sanciones legales por rechazarla, pero le recomendamos que la obtenga una vez que esté disponible.” (“The vaccine will not be mandatory for Virginians and there are no legal penalties for refusing it, but we recommend that you get it once it is available.”)
The state’s health department relies on Google Translate to provide the website’s content in over 90 languages, and the tool is available on VDH’s website.
Read Full Article from ABC 8News (VA) (01/15/21)
Author: Manzanares, Keyris
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