DOI: 10.1075/tis.23010.zha ISSN: 1932-2798

Cultural mediation in crisis translation

Shuyin Zhang, Yingyi Zhuang, Liwen Chang
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


This article presents a snapshot of citizen translators as cultural mediators in public services settings by investigating their role in multicultural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they attempted to resolve potential conflicts in a crisis situation. The study, which focuses on university communities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) in China, is one of the rare cases examining community translation and interpreting in a non-immigrant country where non-Chinese speakers are in a linguistically weaker position. The role of citizen translators in cultural mediation is outlined by recontextualizing mediation through interview-based qualitative research. During times of crisis, citizen translators arguably go beyond linguistic mediation and resolve conflicts by assuming extra duties and social responsibilities to ensure equal access to public services in multicultural communities, thus contributing to the emotional stability of the community and the smooth delivery of information on anti-epidemic measures.