Comments on: Crisis Communications and ‘Official Languages’ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/ At the intersection of yesterday & tomorrow Mon, 20 Jan 2014 15:48:33 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 hourly 1 By: vitmax garcinia http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-631 vitmax garcinia Fri, 11 Oct 2013 12:25:06 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-631 Hello to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this web page, and your views are pleasant in support of new users. Hello to all, how is everything, I think
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By: Brendan Hodgson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-354 Brendan Hodgson Wed, 23 Apr 2008 12:11:04 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-354 <p>Hi Mariana, I fully agree with what you say, in principle. However, I would suggest it also depends on a variety of factors - the nature of the incident, where it took place, who is affected by it etc. I believe it will be incumbent upon an organization to have a clear picture of who matters so that their message is understood - it may well be that English and French alone even are not sufficient.</p> Hi Mariana, I fully agree with what you say, in principle. However, I would suggest it also depends on a variety of factors – the nature of the incident, where it took place, who is affected by it etc. I believe it will be incumbent upon an organization to have a clear picture of who matters so that their message is understood – it may well be that English and French alone even are not sufficient.

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By: Mariana Sarceda http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-353 Mariana Sarceda Wed, 23 Apr 2008 04:33:14 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-353 <p>Communicating during a crisis should aim at providing information  to stakeholders and the community in general. Therefore, if the stakeholders cannot decode your message simply because it's written in a language foreign for them, then you are not communicating. You're just writing a message.</p> Communicating during a crisis should aim at providing information  to stakeholders and the community in general. Therefore, if the stakeholders cannot decode your message simply because it’s written in a language foreign for them, then you are not communicating. You’re just writing a message.

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By: Brendan Hodgson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-352 Brendan Hodgson Mon, 21 Apr 2008 13:58:14 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-352 <p>Hi Peter, glad you jumped in. I don't think any organization would make the mistake of communicating without considering the ability of their primary audiences to understand what's being communicated. However, I do believe that the circumstances could be different depending on where you are in Canada, be it Vancouver, Calgary, Gaspe, or St. John's. Our Ottawa-centric viewpoint often tends to distort the realities that exist in other parts of the country.</p> <p>On the point of approvals, I agree. This is typically where many of the bottlenecks to effective communication occur, more so in government. And this is perhaps a question that underlied the original post and which feeds into your comment, Robin: that being, to what extent are these organizations prepared to ramp up their communications process (including approvals and translations) to address the new communications realities in which we exist? </p> <p>To your point, Mel, I would hope that most government organizations are indeed sufficiently well prepared to manage multi-language information flow in times of crisis, and as the current policy stipulates. That said, organizations also need to be cognizant of the risk of adhering, perhaps too closely, to the letter of the law rather than the spirit - particularly during times of uncertainty, misinformation, and rapid information flow. In the court of public opinion, the fact that you stuck to the fine print may mean little or nothing. </p> <p>My expectation is that, for the vast majority of incidents where federal oversight is required, the responses of most departments and agencies will not be constrained by the existing language policy. However, I do believe the media landscape is sufficiently different from what it was even 5 years ago, that government department's should be reviewing their processes to ensure they have the flexibility to move at the speed Canadians would now expect.</p> Hi Peter, glad you jumped in. I don’t think any organization would make the mistake of communicating without considering the ability of their primary audiences to understand what’s being communicated. However, I do believe that the circumstances could be different depending on where you are in Canada, be it Vancouver, Calgary, Gaspe, or St. John’s. Our Ottawa-centric viewpoint often tends to distort the realities that exist in other parts of the country.

On the point of approvals, I agree. This is typically where many of the bottlenecks to effective communication occur, more so in government. And this is perhaps a question that underlied the original post and which feeds into your comment, Robin: that being, to what extent are these organizations prepared to ramp up their communications process (including approvals and translations) to address the new communications realities in which we exist?

To your point, Mel, I would hope that most government organizations are indeed sufficiently well prepared to manage multi-language information flow in times of crisis, and as the current policy stipulates. That said, organizations also need to be cognizant of the risk of adhering, perhaps too closely, to the letter of the law rather than the spirit – particularly during times of uncertainty, misinformation, and rapid information flow. In the court of public opinion, the fact that you stuck to the fine print may mean little or nothing.

My expectation is that, for the vast majority of incidents where federal oversight is required, the responses of most departments and agencies will not be constrained by the existing language policy. However, I do believe the media landscape is sufficiently different from what it was even 5 years ago, that government department’s should be reviewing their processes to ensure they have the flexibility to move at the speed Canadians would now expect.

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By: Anonymous posting « Spaghetti Testing http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-351 Anonymous posting « Spaghetti Testing Mon, 21 Apr 2008 04:17:33 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-351 <p>PingBack from <a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://spaghettitesting.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/anonymous-posting/">http://spaghettitesting.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/anonymous-posting/</a></p> PingBack from http://spaghettitesting.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/anonymous-posting/

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By: Melanie in Ottawa http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-350 Melanie in Ottawa Sun, 20 Apr 2008 04:45:34 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-350 <p>It was surprising that a communications advisor at a prominent federal agency would pose such a question.  I say this because a “prominent” federal agency would likely be subject to the government’s communication policy, <a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/sipubs/comm/comm_e.asp">http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/sipubs/comm/comm_e.asp</a>.</p> <p>Under Crisis and Emergency Communication (tab 11 under Policy Requirements), this sentence seemed to be the take-home message: “The necessary plans, partnerships, tools and methods must be in place to allow government officials to communicate effectively and efficiently in both official languages during an emergency or a crisis”.  Having worked many years in a central government agency, it confirmed my understanding that translation services are an indispensable cog in the large wheel of government.</p> <p>That being said, would anyone complain if the University of Ottawa (bilingual institution since the mid-70’s) only communicated information about a large scale 9-1-1 situation in one language?  OH YES.  Carleton University?  No.  </p> It was surprising that a communications advisor at a prominent federal agency would pose such a question.  I say this because a “prominent” federal agency would likely be subject to the government’s communication policy, http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/sipubs/comm/comm_e.asp.

Under Crisis and Emergency Communication (tab 11 under Policy Requirements), this sentence seemed to be the take-home message: “The necessary plans, partnerships, tools and methods must be in place to allow government officials to communicate effectively and efficiently in both official languages during an emergency or a crisis”.  Having worked many years in a central government agency, it confirmed my understanding that translation services are an indispensable cog in the large wheel of government.

That being said, would anyone complain if the University of Ottawa (bilingual institution since the mid-70’s) only communicated information about a large scale 9-1-1 situation in one language?  OH YES.  Carleton University?  No.  

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By: Robin Browne http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-349 Robin Browne Sat, 19 Apr 2008 04:47:10 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-349 <p>I agree with Peter. In fact, the more critical the info the more critical it be translated. When there's a crisis in the area covered by the federal department at which I work, the communications shop's translators are brought in to work overtime (like everyone else), things are kept short and it's all translated.</p> I agree with Peter. In fact, the more critical the info the more critical it be translated. When there’s a crisis in the area covered by the federal department at which I work, the communications shop’s translators are brought in to work overtime (like everyone else), things are kept short and it’s all translated.

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By: Peter Smith http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/2008/04/18/crisis-communications-and-official-languages/comment-page-1/#comment-348 Peter Smith Sat, 19 Apr 2008 04:20:57 +0000 http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/10575.aspx#comment-348 <p>The thing is, if the vital info is provided to your stakeholder in a language they can't understand, how useful is it?</p> <p>Totally agreed that getting translation *could* slow down your efforts to get the info out - but it doesn't have to, especially if you keep it short. Each of those really short updates that I can (almost) see in your example can be translated in a matter of minutes. </p> <p>Maybe the greater threat to the speed with which you can get the info out is the dreaded approval process?</p> The thing is, if the vital info is provided to your stakeholder in a language they can’t understand, how useful is it?

Totally agreed that getting translation *could* slow down your efforts to get the info out – but it doesn’t have to, especially if you keep it short. Each of those really short updates that I can (almost) see in your example can be translated in a matter of minutes.

Maybe the greater threat to the speed with which you can get the info out is the dreaded approval process?

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