It is our great pleasure to give you our December 2022 project update. It includes recent publications and presentations from the project, media coverage, a brief update on two of our sub-projects, and exciting news on having secured a new grant.

We would like to thank all of our collaborators and supporters for their tremendous contribution and support. Thanks to all the support, the translatE project had another exciting and productive year, which we believe would help overcome this important issue of language barriers in science.

We hope you all will enjoy the festive season and keep safe and well.

We are very excited to see the release of a new open access book:

Transforming Conservation: A practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making

which is edited by Prof William Sutherland, and authored by 76 experts from around the world.

The overarching aim of the book is to facilitate the use of scientific evidence in biodiversity conservation, and more broadly in any decision making processes. The book thus covers a wide range of important topics, including rethinking how evidence is assessed, combined, communicated and used in decision-making; using effective methods when asking experts to make judgements; using a structured process for making decisions that incorporate the evidence and having effective processes for learning from actions.

Tatsuya contributed to three chapters of the book:

Chapter 2. Gathering and Assessing Pieces of Evidence

Chapter 4. Presenting Conclusions from Assessed Evidence

Chapter 12. Transforming Practice: Checklists for Delivering Change.

In particular, Chapter 2 includes a section (2.5.5 Global evidence in multiple languages) on the importance of non-English-language evidence.

All contents of the book are open access and so freely available here.

Also see blog and video by Prof Sutherland.

Our new paper “Trends and progress in studying butterfly migration” led by Shawan Chowdhury, previously at the UQ and now at iDiv, has been published in Integrative Conservation.

This study reviewed studies on butterfly migration published in six languages (English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish), and found 345 non-English-language studies, compared to 581 English-language studies, mostly on species in South America and Asia, where English-language studies were scarce.

This again nicely illustrate the importance of non-English-language studes in ecology and conservation.

Read the open access paper here.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we have been awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant for the next three years!

This is going to be another global collaboration with many including Prof William Sutherland at the University of Cambridge and Assistant Prof Fangyuan Hua at Peking University. Please see below the project summary – we can’t wait to develop the translatE project further!

Tapping into non-English-language science in tackling global challenges

This project aims to transform the conventional practice of English-biased evidence use to multilingual evidence synthesis to enable us to better tackle global challenges. The project expects to lay the foundations and provide platforms for multilingual, unbiased evidence-based solutions to global issues including biodiversity loss, climate adaptation and animal-origin diseases. Expected outcomes include a database of non-English-language evidence on the three global issues of focus, machine learning tools, and machine translation platforms that make non-English-language evidence accessible. This should benefit national/international policies and practices by making a neglected source of evidence available for science-led decision-making.

Henry Arenas-Castro has delivered an inspiring seminar titled “Overcoming language barriers in academic publishing” at the UQ School of Biological Sciences Seminar Series.

Based on the outcome of a recent collaborative project, supported by the 2021 Grant for Mentoring and Diversity in Biology of the UQ School of Biological Sciences, Henry talked about the varying level of the commitment of journals to overcoming language barriers in academic publishing and factors that are critical to promote linguistic equity in science.

Well done Henry!

Our new paper “A comprehensive database of amphibian heat tolerance” led by Patrice Pottier at the University of New South Wales has been published in Scientific Data.

In this paper, a multi-lingual team led by Patrice systematically searched the literature on amphibian heat tolerance in seven languages, and produced the most comprehensive dataset to date on amphibian upper thermal limits, spanning 3,095 estimates from 213 studies across 616 species.

Importantly, we identified 27 non-English-language studies that met the eligibility criteria (about 13% of all studies identified), which again indicates the importance of searching literature in multiple languages.

Read the open access paper (and the dataset) here.

We are pleased to see our work, among others including Eliza Grames’ amazing work, is featured in a recent article by Ensia “Language barriers in conservation research could be hurting biodiversity efforts. What can be done about it?”.

Read the article here.

We are very happy to announce that Tatsuya will be giving a keynote presentation at the 2022 joint conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania, to be held in Wollongong, NSW from 28 November to 2 December 2022.

Keynote Speakers

Tatsuya will be talking about “Transcending language barriers, reconnecting evidence and people for conservation”.