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Interpreters, translated documents help Hoosiers keep up with COVID-19 news, safety guidelines

The latest on the coronavirus on March 27 on News 8 at 6 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Health and government leaders are putting out information regarding COVID-19 daily. Thousands can tune in almost immediately for the latest update.

But if you can’t hear or speak a different language, the information may take a bit longer to get.

LUNA Language Services is working with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office to provide translated materials and American Sign Language interpreters.

When you hear silence on your television, it’s a glimpse into what it’s like to be deaf. You know vital information about COVID-19 safety guidelines are going out but don’t know what it is.

It’s a reality for thousands of Hoosiers.

“We have approximately 15% of our population (who) do not use English in the home,” said Marina Hadjioanoou-Waters with LUNA Language Services.

For those who speak different languages or don’t speak at all, getting vital information can be delayed or wrong. And at times like these correct information matters.

Jay Krieger is deaf and uses American Sign language. He shared his message through ASL interpreter Naomi Casale.

“We don’t want to continue the spread of the coronavirus or maybe getting the virus,” Krieger signed.

“So when we are providing information and you’re providing essential announcements, you have to think to yourself: Is this information dependent on me being able to hear?” said Casale.

It’s a misconception — he said — that closed captioning is enough for everyone.

“There is a small group of people and they can read the caption and just fine, but our monolingual, which means they are pretty dependent on ASL. And they don’t have excessive skills in English,” she said.

LUNA provides the translator you’ll often see at Gov. Eric Holcomb’s health updates, but LUNA also has translated documents. Some also come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide even more COVID-19 safety tips in different languages.

“The mitigation efforts will not work unless the whole community is involved,” said Hadjioanoou-Waters.