Ecologists have always lost sleep about climate change, but for some years the same can be said about politicians. Finding the perfect formula to stop it has been the subject of much international debate, although a real solution has yet to be found. It might appear that professional translation plays a very minor role in this area, but when it comes to international dialogue, translation and interpretation are the bridges that make it possible to communicate and seek solutions to climate change.
Professional translation has allowed the leaders from very different countries to sit at the same table and discuss and negotiate measures to stop climate change. We know that it is almost impossible for all the nations on the planet to come to an agreement. However, the words we use in debates about climate change influence our understanding and perception of this environmental problem. Given that, how can translation form part of the solution? Let’s find out.
From global warming to climate change
The way we express ourselves when discussing climate change can alter the way this problem is perceived. A very good example is that the term “global warming” has been gradually replaced with “climate change.”
The term “climate change” reflects the consensus among environmental scientists that the increase in greenhouse gases will cause various environmental problems that will not be limited to higher temperatures and rising sea levels.
Environmental problems and words
Many environmental organisations recognise the need to adapt their language and vocabulary while communicating with different stakeholders. Climate change in particular, and environmental science in general, is a field that has a very specific vocabulary. But as ecolinguistics and localisation makes clear, the choice of words affects the overall success of efforts to communicate about climate change. That is why the work of professional translators can help share local stories, problems and possible solutions that help stop climate change.