Matthew Miller
Sep 30, 2021

Found in translation: Australian artists improve on poorly translated government Covid info

INSPIRATION STATION: A group of artists created posters that provide Covid guidance in 26 languages—in response to government info that wasn't translated with proper care.

Found in translation: Australian artists improve on poorly translated government Covid info

An exhibition entitled Mistranslations, showcases 18 posters by 48 designers, that convey Covid safety information in 26 languages.

Re Agency, a part of M&C Saatchi Australia, created the exhibition in response to the Australian government's poor communication to non-English-speaking communities early in the pandemic. Some information was poorly translated, apparently using Google Translate, resulting in nonsense. The exhibit organisers commissioned artists and designers to re-imagine such communications with due care—resulting in a vivid demonstration of how governments and other communicators should think about supporting vulnerable populations.

Originally mounted in Melbourne earlier this year, the exhibition has now opened in Syndey. In addition, an online store selling prints of the posters has gone online. Proceeds go to a community arts organisation that works with artists who have asylum-seeker or migrant backgrounds.

"At its heart, this exhibition aimed to promote inclusivity and transparency for underrepresented members of the community," Sumita Maharaj, associate design director at Re Agency, said in a release. "These posters firmly put communication back in the hands of the minorities it directly affected, allowing them to speak for themselves, in their own voice. As a team, we have been so inspired by the creative response, the submissions were uniquely insightful and full of a nuance that has been missed by more generic mass communication.” 


You've arrived at Inspiration Station, a weekly look at imaginative and artistic work from creators of all kinds across Asia-Pacific. Step off for a minute to recharge your creative batteries and find inspiration for that next big idea of yours further down the track.


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