Lack of Mediation, Consistency, and Speed Were Problems

A recurring pattern when problematising linguistic mediation in the accounts of participants in this case study was a simple lack of sufficient mediation. Participants repeatedly talked about translations or interpretations not being available when needed or about the language abilities of some mediators not being sufficient for the task. However, it can be seen from Table 1 that a lack of sufficient meditation was not the only problem that foreigners experienced when talking about their needs in the 2011 disaster. Two other problems mentioned were a lack of consistency in the mediation provided, particularly with respect to the management of technical terminology in official documentation, and slow delivery of mediation in an environment where information was being updated constantly.

While the interview data in this case study could not provide an exhaustive inventory of all the needs for linguistic mediation that were experienced by foreign residents in the 2011 disaster, the findings outlined in this section construct a framework to begin thinking about how translation technology could have contributed in the 2011 disaster and could contribute in future disasters. These are the topics that will be discussed in the following section.

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