EXPLAINING CALD: The difference diversity can make

As one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, Australia is also one of the most linguistically rich. As a result, you don’t have to spend long in the translations, business or government sectors before coming across the acronym CALD – “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse”.  CALD refers to the many communities across Australia populated by people who have immigrated from across the seas, bringing a diversity of both language and culture to generations past and emerging.

CALD is a known acronym within bureaucratic circles, but not within colloquial or relational settings. This is because it is used more as a general term within public and community circles than when referencing an individual’s identity. A person may not identify as “CALD”; however, the term allows for ease of identification for relevant government and bureaucratic bodies when recognising opportunities for development, support, and improved access, along with determining risk factors, within this growing sect of the community.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Core Set of Cultural and Language Indicators to define a CALD community consists of the following base and higher-level concepts:

  • Country of birth
  • Main language other than English spoken at home
  • Proficiency in English
  • Indigenous status
  • Ancestry
  • Country of birth of mother and father
  • The first language spoken
  • Religious affiliation
  • Year of arrival in Australia

These standards are designed to support and understand those within CALD communities, allowing relevant parties to monitor service needs, facilitate access, gain an understanding of the communities that make up Australia and measure the state of cultural and linguistic diversity.

While CALD may seem like a big-picture concept reserved for the house of representatives, it is an important consideration for businesses and government entities on every level. Read on to discover more.

CALD Communities and Your Business

The people who make up Australian CALD communities come from over 190 countries, bringing over 300 languages and many ancestral landscapes with them. Australia is much more diverse than many people realise, with over half of the country’s population either born overseas or having immediate family native to another country.

The number of those who have travelled across the seas to call Australia home is showing no signs of slowing down. Currently, over 4% of the population don’t speak English at all, representing almost a million people who are at risk of missing out on crucial communication. Additionally, around 14% of Australians report having low levels of English literacy; lacking the ability to read texts above an elementary level.

People from CALD backgrounds can face disproportionate challenges compared to native English speakers, particularly in areas of health and welfare. Language barriers can limit health and wellness comprehension and impact the ability to navigate foreign healthcare systems. This places CALD communities at risk of inadequate healthcare, experiencing increased disease, and lacklustre service delivery, ultimately resulting in poorer health outcomes overall.

Clear, accurate, and concise information delivery is an essential component of any business, and good communication with Australian CALD communities begins with an understanding of how widespread low literacy can be. While a huge number of Australians experience a communication barrier, with tools such as videos, images, podcasts, and translated written content, your business can communicate essential messages, advertisements, and information in efficient and comprehensive ways.

Our Tips for Effective CALD Communications

At DS5 Translations, we are proud to work with businesses, governments, and corporate authorities to bridge the communication gap for CALD communities. We’ve included some of our expert tips below to improve your communication strategies to make your business truly inclusive, effective, and comprehensive for your stakeholders and target market.

  1. Use simple, plain English to communicate

Communicating with CALD communities requires an understanding of the reader’s or listener’s perspective. Using plain language is an excellent way to create content that will allow your audience to find and understand the information they need. Plain language can be used within your wording, content structure, and design of information delivery. Try to imagine walking in your reader’s shoes and consider whether the information you’re delivering is appropriate and specific and if it is either too detailed or under-detailed. Simplify your message and delivery for truly effective and comprehensive communication.

  1. Use imagery to reinforce your point

Using images, visual design and graphics provides an excellent way to communicate with CALD communities. There is rarely a resource that will not benefit from an accompanying image, however, it’s important not to include images just for the image’s sake. For your CALD pictorial content to be effective and meaningful, choose images that support your ideas, assist in user navigation, are consistent with your messaging, and most importantly, are culturally appropriate.

  1. Take it a step further with Easy English

Easy English is a simplified version of Plain English that can cater to members of the CALD community with learning disabilities, which should be a consideration in any good communication strategy. Choosing whether to use Easy or Plain English will depend on your key demographic and target audiences, considering the information you’re delivering, what you need to clarify and the action you would like to see post-communication.

  1. Invest in professional translation services

Translating content is the most effective way to deliver your message clearly and correctly. Taking your communications strategy to the next level with professional translations and a detailed translation strategy will ensure the success of your communication with everyone within your local CALD communities. A translation strategy involves a range of agreed-upon parameters that will guarantee successful communications through document translations, interpreter services, subtitle translations, voiceovers, and transcriptions. Working with professional translators is the only way to guarantee that your message is clear, effective, precise, culturally correct, and inclusive.

CALD & NAATI Working Harmoniously Together

NAATI is a term you will hear a lot when engaging with translation services. It represents the national standards and certifying authority for translators and interpreters in Australia. It is the gold standard of translation services.

Without the influence of those from across the seas, Australia would not be the wonderfully diverse and linguistically rich country that it is today. Our NAATI-qualified translators are proud to work with businesses and municipal bodies to improve communication and collaboration with CALD communities.

At DS5, we are ready to partner with you to provide accurate translation services, allowing you to reach your audience in an array of different languages. Our network of translators is experienced in a wide range of industries including e-commerce, legal services, medicine, business, corporate, and marketing, resulting in translations individualised to your business. If you’re ready to improve the translation strategy of your business and make the most of your connections within CALD communities, get in touch today.