Have you ever wondered how the multicultural communications landscape in Australia will evolve in the coming years? As we step into 2024 and look beyond, we’re on the cusp of transformative changes that promise to redefine how we engage with our diverse communities in Australia. Here are my predications of what multicultural communications and engagement will look like in 2024 and beyond. Co-creation: The new gold standard 2023 was a watershed year for multicultural communications, marked by a significant sector-wide shift towards co-creation in developing communication assets and campaigns. But what does this mean for the future? Co-creation is about creating campaigns and assets with communities, not just for communities. This approach, which involves a symbiotic collaboration between communication professionals, skilled translators, and the community members themselves, has quickly become the benchmark for ensuring messages resonate authentically. Why is this important? It’s simple: messages crafted in partnership with the community not only guarantee relevance and cultural sensitivity, but they also foster community ambassadors who are eager to disseminate this information. We’ve worked on countless campaigns in 2023 which reflect this co-creation approach including a Seniors campaign for R U OK? which included a suite of video and static assets. R U OK? Co-created Greek resource for Seniors Looking ahead, this trend of co-creation is only set to grow. Imagine the powerful impact of campaigns that are not just seen but felt by the communities they are designed to serve. This method, emphasising the involvement of NAATI certified translators and community representatives, will undoubtedly enhance the quality of communication outputs. Building deeper connections 2023 saw an intensified effort to forge deeper connections with communities. Will this trend continue to gain momentum in 2024? Absolutely. Active participation in community events underscores a commitment to building trust and authenticity. This is an area we’ve invested in at Ethnolink, including fantastic work by our Head of Community Engagement, Shereen Ghali. This work has involved building genuine and authentic relationships and more than anything — building trust. Shereen Ghali, Ethnolink’s Head of Community Engagement, speaking at Ethnolink Summit 2023 in Melbourne Shereen spoke at Ethnolink Summit 2023 in Melbourne These deepened connections, facilitated by dedicated professionals, are pivotal for effective multicultural communications. But how do these connections benefit us all? They pave the way for a more empathetic and inclusive approach, ensuring that the voices of the community are not just heard but are integral to the communication process. Campaign hyper-personalisation The future is also set to bring an evolution in campaign strategies, moving towards hyper-personalisation. But what does hyper-personalisation entail? It’s about crafting messages and assets that cater to specific segments within a community. It’s more than just language selection; it’s about going deeper. This nuanced approach considers various demographic factors such as age, migration history, literacy levels, and education. For example, the communication strategy for older Greek-speaking migrants might differ significantly from that for younger, digitally-savvy migrants who have higher levels of English. Example of campaigns targeting Greek speakers who read Neos Kosmos Take this PR campaign (English | Greek) for example where the target audience was people who may be interested in a career in interpreting. Given the need for the audience to have very strong Greek language skills, it was identified that a primary way to reach the audience would be through print media. This earned media garnered significant community interest through authentic story-telling. This more targeted approach ensures that messages are not just broadcasted but are tailored to resonate with each unique audience. Prioritising quality: The importance of ISO standards 2023 was a year of change for the industry. Translation buyers are becoming more sophisticated and are learning about the importance of the ISO standards for the translation industry: ISO-17100 (Translation services) and ISO-18587 (Post-editing of machine translation output). Ethnolink is certified for ISO-17100 and ISO-18587 Why are these standards becoming essential? For starters, ISO standards are referenced in the Australian Government Language Services Guidelines. ISO-17100 sets the benchmark for translation services, ensuring linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance, vital for effective multicultural communication. Meanwhile, ISO-18587 focuses on the quality of machine-translated content, ensuring that technology-enhanced translations maintain high standards. Adhering to these standards means that providers like Ethnolink, that are certified against both standards. are operating at global standards. You can expect to see providers that do not hold these credentials to face challenges as more government procurement departments mandate these standards. Embracing technology and artificial intelligence And then there’s the role of technology, particularly generative artificial intelligence and machine translation. How will these technologies reshape our field? The broader use of generative AI will be a trend in 2024 As we progress, the use of generative AI in creative campaign ideation and machine translation in transcreation processes will become increasingly common. These advancements will aid in producing high-quality, efficient work. However, they do raise valid ethical and privacy considerations. But isn’t this a challenge worth embracing? In a world where change is the only constant, adapting to and integrating these technological advancements is not just beneficial, it’s essential. We can fight technological change, or we can embrace it and use it in a responsible way. You can expect to see a broader use of generative AI in 2024 and beyond and it will drastically change the way communications are delivered. Reflections on last year’s predictions Looking back at the predictions made in 2023, we observed an increase in the breadth of campaign languages. This reflects a more robust approach in language selection. Has cultural sensitivity in communications shown improvement? Certainly! And the use of machine translation has become more sophisticated in Australia. Additionally, the focus on Indigenous communications, notably around the Referendum, showcases the sector’s responsiveness to significant national events. 2024 and beyond So, what does the future hold for multicultural communications in Australia? It’s a future where co-creation, deep community connections, hyper-personalisation, and the intelligent use of technology are not just buzzwords, but the pillars of our approach. By embracing these developments, we ensure that our communication strategies are not only effective and inclusive but also resonate deeply with diverse Australian communities.