Communication in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities

Goal: A set of studies look at how the communication needs of CALD communities are met, with a focus on multilingual communication policies and behavior-change communication.

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Anthony Pym
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Social inclusion is often used as an ideal aim in many policy statements at all levels. The ideal is nevertheless very imprecise and is interpreted in different ways. Here we attempt to define linguistic inclusion from its negation, by identifying moments of felt linguistic exclusion. When just over 50 members of the Russian-speaking population in the province of Tarragona, Spain, were asked if they had felt excluded because of language or culture, a surprising 53% of them said they had. In order to portray the background and motivations for those feelings, we explore the cases of six interviewees from this community. The interviewees were selected to represent different lengths of intended stay in Spain and thus different reasons for mobility. The results show that linguistic exclusion is certainly felt in official situations where Spanish or Catalan are required and no mediation services are available, but also in more general situations set up by the policy-based promotion of Catalan and, in one instance, because of the low levels of English spoken in the region. The instances of exclusion help motivate immigrants to learn the dominant language, Spanish, but they to nevertheless express little interest in the territory’s traditional language of inclusion, Catalan.
This report was produced by the Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-Cultural Communication(RUMACCC), School of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne, for the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).
Background: Public health crises present challenges for providing accessible, timely, and accurate health information to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Aim: The aim of this qualitative project was to explore strategies used by CALD community organizations to improve communication about COVID-19 for their communities; we also aimed to identify gaps and challenges. Methods: We interviewed 16 representatives from Greek, Italian, and Chinese CALD organizations in Melbourne, Australia. The interviews were analyzed thematically. Results: Community leaders played a significant role in engaging their community members with accurate key health information. There were differences between language communities about preferred channels for receiving information. As the pandemic intensified, there was a shift from written communication to more interactive exchanges between authorities and community leaders. Discussion: The findings suggest effective public health communication is enhanced by the mediation and outreach strategies adopted by CALD community organizations; further, stakeholders need to be cognizant of heterogeneity of needs and preferences. This may optimize information dissemination to meet specific needs. Conclusions:The CALD organizations have developed communication strategies involving different kinds of mediation to reach specific sub-groups, especially the most vulnerable. These strategies can inform future public health engagement.
Anthony Pym
added a project goal
A set of studies look at how the communication needs of CALD communities are met, with a focus on multilingual communication policies and behavior-change communication.