Brighton & Hove City Council and SIS – joining the jigsaw with accessible translated information

SIS is working together with Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) and other local community organisations to ensure that people with language needs have access to accurate, up to date information.

SIS has heard reports that some members of our communities have been too terrified to leave their house at all because they haven’t understood how the virus is transmitted, how to stay safe and the rules on social distancing.   It is common for people with language needs to rely on “word of mouth” and this can lead to the circulation of mis-information from other countries which may have different regulations or misunderstanding due to language barriers.

SIS and BHCC are combating the spread of misinformation in a number of ways;

  1. A section on the COVID 19 council webpage (https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/how-protect-yourself-and-others ) focused on translated materials. This links through to the SIS website and in particular to our news page which features COVID translated information produced by Doctors of the World (in 40 languages), HM Government “Save Lives” Posters (in 7 languages), Big Leaf Foundation easy access illustrated guides (in 7 languages), Public Health England “Stay Safe” guides (in 11 languages), and videos produced by Leeds Council.
  2. SIS has 17 language specific webpages (and linked Facebook pages) for the most commonly spoken languages in the city.  All relevant COVID related information is pinned to the top of each page for immediate view on visiting the page.  There is other  translated information about local services listed further down the page.  SIS linguists promote these pages to all service users.  Quick Response bar codes for easy access were mailed to 1000 service users earlier in the year and proved very popular.
  3. Comunity Newsletters produced by BHCC in partnership with Trust for Developing Communities are currently being distributed through letter boxes.  They contain a single translated sentence, produced by SIS, on the front page directing people in Arabic, Farsi, Bengali, Polish and Mandarin to BHCC`s Community Hub page and the 01273 293117 Phone Help.
  4. The phone line staff can access telephone interpreting and have been briefed on how to answer ‘migrant specific’ queries including links back to the SIS website and to SIS Social Prescribing help, Voices in Exile who support migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds and the Directory of Services for Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers maintained on Sanctuary on Sea’s website.
  5. The BHCC website has embedded Google Translate to help support access to information. This provides equality of access across multiple languages.  Some languages respond better to the translation algorithms than others.  Some translations can be easily read whilst others may seem a little `nonsensical`.  It is a good starting point for people trying to access information.
  6. A poster translated by SIS into Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin, Bengali, Polish and Urdu is currently being designed and is destined for all of the city’s supermarkets and shops – including smaller ‘international’ shops. SIS shared information from our Volunteer Linguists about international shops they had previously visited with promotional information about SIS services. The poster gives the basic public health information about COVID, details about accessing BHCC Community Hub and directs people to the information on the SIS website (as detailed in points 1 and 2). The hope is that additional language will be produced in a phased manner.
  7. These posters will also be available as images for circulation via email and social media

BHCC and SIS  would be grateful for feedback from service users and community members about whether they are getting the information they need to inform further development of this approach by identifying any gaps. Please contact SIS