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What is CALD? Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communications

When it comes to engagement, it can be hard to know just where to start. Am I right?

If you’re looking for a The Ultimate Guide to engaging with CALD communities, then continue reading.

A diverse Australia

Australia is one of the world’s most beautifully diverse countries. In fact, we are also one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations. It’s not without it’s challenges, but our diversity is certainly something that makes Australian society much fuller and richer.

What is CALD?

CALD is an acronym that means ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse’. So, what does that actually mean?

In Australia, people from this backgrounds are people who:

  • come from different countries across the world
  • speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE)
  • represent different cultural backgrounds
  • have various religious beliefs.

Working with People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

Being a multicultural society, Australia is continuously growing its networks in the international business. Japan and China are some of the largest trading partners of the country.

For this reason, it’s good for your business to employ people with this backgrounds as long as they have the experience and skill to do the job well. Some of the benefits of this includes helping your business to:

  • access new markets
  • understand the multicultural consumers in the country
  • go global
  • serve your customers better

What to DO

There are a number of things you can do to ensure that you engage appropriately and respectfully with people from this backgrounds:

  • have your recruitment advertisement translated into your target employee’s local language
  • know the calendar of religious and cultural events of your employees so you can plan celebrations earlier, as well as anticipate leave requests
  • promote cross-cultural awareness through training and workplace policies
  • have mentoring arrangements that match your employees’ different backgrounds
  • demonstrate attitudes, behaviours, structures and policies that enable your workers to value diversity and work effectively cross-culturally
  • celebrate the diversity you have in your workplace with events and lunches
  • have your employees share their experiences and cultures
  • read the best practice guidelines for creating a productive workplace environment to help increase productivity among your employees and eliminate discrimination in the workplace
  • put in place procedures and policies to create a discrimination-free workplace and deal with allegations of harassment and discrimination made by customers or employees
  • know your employer responsibilities
  • educate yourself about discrimination at work, and bullying and harassment in the workplace

What NOT to DO

When working with employees and job seekers with diverse backgrounds, it’s essential that you know what not to do when working with employees with a diverse background:

  • put requirements, conditions or practices in place that disadvantage people of a different race, religion, nationality, descent, colour, immigrant status or ethnic origin
  • insist everyone should speak English, including during break time
  • not employ or promote a suitably qualified person based from his race and immigrant status, or assume that he would not “fit in”
  • treat employees unfairly all because of their race
  • call people racist names or make offensive comments, gestures or comments

What is ‘Community Translation’?

In Australia, community translation refers to the translation of written material which helps to facilitate clear and accurate communication between public services and people who do not speak English well.

The types of organisations that typically engage community translation services are:

  • Federal & State Government departments, agencies or bodies
  • Local Government (local council)
  • Not for Profit (NFP) organisations
  • Community organisations
  • Peak bodies & advocacy groups; or
  • any other organisation that derives some level of funding from Government.

The Purpose of Community Translation

Typically, the types of texts that community translation projects include are communications material. The purpose of translating this material into other languages is to improve access to information who don’t speak English well. By doing this, organisations are enabling minorities in Australia to integrate and participate in Australian society.

Top 10 Languages Spoken in Australia

One of the most talked about topics in this engagement community is the infamous Top 10 Languages spoken in Australia. The magical top 10 that solves all problems.

Top 10 Languages

Making Information Accessible

Information should be provided in languages that are easily understood by people with a diverse background. These are often done via Plain Language or Easy English.

What is ‘Plain Language’?

Sometimes called Plain Writing or Plain English, Plain Language is a communication where an audience easily and clearly understands ideas the first time they hear or read it.

However, a language that is plain to someone might not be true for another. As such, a language is considered to be plain if the audience can easily:

  • find what they need
  • understand it
  • use the information they find to meet their needs

Plain language is often achieved with the use of short sentences, active voice, pronouns, logical organisation, common words and easy-to-read designs.

What is ‘Easy English’?

Easy English is a writing style that’s developed to provide concise and understandable information to people with low English literacy. This includes those who have intellectual disability and limitations on writing and reading words. The key features of Easy English includes:

  • minimal punctuation
  • simplified grammar and language
  • easy to read font, design and layout
  • short and simple  sentences

What’s the difference between ‘Plain Language’ and ‘Easy English’?

Plain Language and Easy English have a lot of similarities. However, they are also different especially in terms of understanding your audience and their needs.

Plain Language is used when you want to reach people who have reasonable literacy skills to find their way around a printed document or a website, and understand your topic clearly.

On the other hand, Easy English is best used when you want to reach people with disability, low English literacy, older people or people with English as their second language. Easy English leans more on technical writing style, consumer feedback and clinical practice.

Though Easy English and Plain Language are quite similar in the sense that they’re both easy to understand and concise, Easy English follows very specific grammatical rules and often includes images to help support the key messages.

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