Best Practices

Why Put the Spotlight on Environmental Translation Services?

People tend to act better when you address them in their native languages, and this is the role of the Environmental Translation Services
Thalita Lima
7 min
Table of Contents

“Our home is not the house, the street, or the nation where we live, but the Earth itself,” says scientist James Lovelock in his book “The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning” (2009).

This appeal, such as “there is no planet B,” is present in environmentalists’ calls to remember what we humans recklessly seem to forget: the Earth is the only house for us and all kinds of life we know. An “awakening” of people – especially leaders and managers – to take responsibility for their roles in environmental issues must happen now. 

What do Environmental Translation Services have to do with that?

Image by Priscilla Du Preez to unsplash.com 

Environmental issues have become the subject of a high volume of documents in  diverse forms of communications and target audience on an international level. Reports, scientific articles, research, news articles, and media files, books, etc. 

These documents need to not only reach their targets, but also resonate with them in terms of message understanding.

This demand answers the question “why put the spotlight on the Environmental Translation Service?” But let’s get deeper to understand the role of the Environmental Translation Service in this context. 

Climate Change: Context of a Global Crisis

Since the Stockholm Conference (1972) in Sweden, environmental issues have become a global debate. This conference was a milestone. After this decade, intellectuals, thinkers, and experts were worried about demographic growth and the impacts of industrial activity on human health. 
Many other international conferences have occurred. Agreements have been assigned, such as The Montreal Protocol, The Kyoto Protocol, The Paris Agreement etc. Most of them with ineffective results, unfortunately.

15 September 1971 - United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Maurice F. Strong, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (right), shows United Nations Secretary-General U Thant a design for the official Conference poster. To the left is Mr. Keith Johnson (Jamaica), Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference. (Photo Credit: UN Photo/Teddy Chen)

If we take a leap to the present day, the theme that is in the center of attention is Climate Change. Every day, the news has something related to this subject. The point, in summary, is: the Earth is warming fast due to human activities and the consequences are a threat to most living species, including us. 

We have seen in recent years extreme weather catastrophes. In April, heavy rainfalls and floods occurred in the Chinese province of Guangdong. In May 2024, an entire state of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) suffered flooding – which had not ended by the time of writing this article. 

05.05.2024 - The president's flight over the areas affected by the rains in Canoas, a city in Brazil.
Photo by Ricardo Stuckert.

These events can have multiple causes, including poor urban planning. But it is also aggravated by climate change. And climate change, in the global scenario we talk about today, has a huge correlation with the economy. 

Eco-friendly Business World

Environmental problems are, essentially, a question of economy. Humans' demands for well-being are strongly based on consumption, expense. But as affirmed recently by the Brazilian Minister of Environmental and Climate Change, “there are no limits of being, but there are limits of having”. What does that mean?

With the environmental issues gaining space, more and more buying decisions and processes of production are made based on environmental considerations. Smart managers already got that. This is where the Green Economy grows. 

Image by freepik.com

Sustainability goals beyond ESG agenda

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. It’s already popular among companies and represents the actions the companies must implement to attend to these three pillars in their businesses. In return for advances in the ESG indicators, the companies gain green certifications, government authorization to develop certain projects, best cost-benefits, and a good reputation among consumers and stakeholders.That’s why many have been trying to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees, implementing reverse logistics, recycling packaging, etc. Those are fine initiatives. But sustainability goals are deeper than that. Committing to sustainability means truly understanding the environmental footprint of your business. It also means supporting projects of forest restoration, biome conservation, biodiversity protection, climate justice, food security, water and air quality.The government has also a huge responsibility for public policies, of course. But as stated before, the environment has long been a cause for everyone, and companies bear a significant amount of responsibility. Not only NGOs, government, universities or specialized enterprises in environmental causes. It is part of any organization’s daily life. And the translation industry will surf on these global tendencies too. Environmental Translation ServicesTreating environmental issues with the relevance they demand – and deserve – is a work that requires more than “green talks”. Translating in this field means understanding more deeply the topics that are on the agenda. Terminologies, scientific papers, and themes that are in debate. More and more issues are reaching the public sphere.For example, how many of the terms below do you know something more than “have heard about”? 

  • Carbon neutrality
  • Green washing
  • Particulate pollution
  • Microplastic pollution
  • Environmental racism 
  • Gaia Hypothesis
  • Climate Anxiety

If you check in all of them, congratulations, we could call that a good start! But there are many other terms to learn. The ability to address these subjects has even a name: Green Skills. Environmental terminology is dynamic, constantly evolving and expanding.The purpose of any communication, but especially in this field, is to reach the most number of people. Touch them. Sensibilize and connect with them.

Image by Naja Bertolt Jensen to unsplash.com

Environmental Translation Services are the key to raising awareness and creating bridges. Not any automatic translation, but a well-constructed one that combines the efficiency of AI tools with Localization to deliver the best results. 

People tend to act more when you address them in their native languages. Words lead to action! When it comes to environmental issues, action is what we need to spread now. 

Thalita Lima
photography | writing | communication for socio-environmental impact | art
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