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Staying informed during a pandemic with ‘Corona in Denmark’

Photograph: iStock

Text: Zachary Marx

Last month, we reported on The Repat Dane Facebook page, which provides live translations and advice for foreigners during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, we also wanted to recognise the fantastic work of Corona in Denmark, founded by Dane Nicki Mathis Møller Just, also provides translations of press conferences and other official government messages about the ongoing pandemic.

Whereas Frej Jensen, founder of The Repat Dane, realised the lack of material for non-Danish speakers because of his experience living through a crisis abroad, Just saw the problem first-hand through the eyes of his foreign girlfriend.

“I have a French girlfriend, whom I was able to help stay updated as we faced the very unsure prospect of potential lockdown, like we saw in France,” Just explained.

“Eventually, it occurred to me that there were actually no offers of help to foreigners in Denmark with news and translations into English. And that’s where I decided to offer this help, as a way to both help people, and use my education and language skills. A win-win, if you want.

“Corona in Denmark is a project that is aimed at helping expats in Denmark staying up-to-date about the various news and developments that happens in Denmark related to the corona crisis. This mainly comes from offering occasional live-translations of press conferences through my Facebook-page, as well as daily summaries of events and news related to the corona crisis in Denmark on the website that I own.

“On the side, I also answer people’s questions related to the various rules and restrictions that are in place, mostly related to entry into Denmark during the period where the borders were very much closed or started to reopen again,” Just said.

Corona in Denmark actually goes a couple of steps beyond merely translating Danish into English by providing audio news summaries in French and Greek as well. This attention to detail and care has helped his site achieve a steady following that has even come as a shock to Just.

“When I began, I told my girlfriend that I would be pleased if just 200 people would watch and read on a daily basis. Now, I can see that there’s usually somewhere between 1.500 and 3.000 people that watch or read. So it has definitely exploded beyond my wildest dreams, and I am just pleased that people have been able to keep track of what was happening during the craziest months in the fall.”

Although the government remains mostly ambivalent toward getting vital information out to Denmark’s many non-Danish speakers, sites like Corona in Denmark and The Repat Dane are helping both to bridge the gap in knowledge, and the gap between Danish and non-Danish speakers.

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