• Alissa Rutkowski

JNCL-NCLIS Note on Advocating for the Language Enterprise During Pandemic Shutdown


Dear Colleagues,


First, let me wish all of you health and safety in these very unsettling times.


At JNCL-NCLIS, we are practicing social distancing and following all of the CDC guidelines and states of Maryland and Washington recommendations.


Today’s special note collates several recent statements on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Language Enterprise, as well as actions we want the Congress to take to mitigate the damage done to our associations, companies, teachers, researchers, translators, interpreters, and indeed all of our colleagues working with languages to make the world a better place.


You will see our recent policy alert on relief for the language industry’s workforce and companies; both groups are extremely vulnerable in this crisis, as the workforce is 80% freelancers, who do not necessarily have access to unemployment, sick leave, and family medical leave benefits, and whose in-person work, particularly for interpreters, has all but disappeared. At the same time, language companies face a significant loss of income as well, and nearly all have reported economic hardship because of this pandemic. We detail the adverse impacts that we’ve seen thus far in the ALC-JNCL Survey.


For our non-profit members, the situation may be even more troubling, as you will see from the recent JNCL-NCLIS survey of its non-profit membership. Many of our non-profit members are all-volunteer, deriving their largest revenue stream from their annual meetings. Cancelling these meetings, which many have had no choice but to do, may bankrupt them. Our non-profit associations provide high-quality, local, state, regional, and national-level professional development, continuing education, and vital networking for the everyone in the Language Enterprise. ASAE has taken the lead in advocating for direct relief to associations; we have provided our data to ASAE, and we join in sharing the ASAE Action Alert.


As a service to the Language Enterprise, we are curating a list of resources and information about COVID-19 and languages, including teaching, learning, and the language industry. Alissa Rutkowski, our Communications and Policy Manager, is maintaining this list; please send her suggestions at arutkowski@languagepolicy.org.


Finally, stay safe and sound, take care of each other, and let us know what you need,


Best,


Bill Rivers

Executive Director

JNCL-NCLIS