Multilingual Communication Experiences of Foreign Migrants in China During the Covid-19 Pandemic

  •  Zhuyujie Zou    
  •  Meichun Xue    
  •  Zhenyao Lu    
  •  Mengyi Luo    


The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a series of language-related challenges confronting linguistically diverse populations worldwide. Given that China has emerged as an ideal destination for international students and workers seeking upward mobility, it is essential to investigate how foreigners working in China get access to public health information. Adopting the concept of multilingual crisis communication, this study examines the multilingual communication experiences of a cohort of foreign workers working for one of the biggest nightclubs in the Southwestern region of China. Data were collected based on the semi-structured interview with five foreign dancers and their high-stake holders, including a Chinese boss and a Chinese dance director. It was found that foreign migrant dancers were confronted with various language barriers in understanding Putonghua and English-mediated communication resources. The finding also indicated that their access to public health information was facilitated by their use of translation applications, with the support of their Chinese friends and foreign colleagues whose multilingual repertoires constituted an essential medium for effective communication. This paper closes by providing practical suggestions, like offering other smaller languages and official language training services for foreign migrants of diverse linguistic backgrounds, mainly from peripheral countries.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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