Language access

Translated written material

It is important that vital documents are translated into the languages commonly spoken throughout your community.

Translated materials already exist on many websites and can be downloaded and used in your area (some may require the addition of local service information). For example, this site contains a large index of domestic violence-related information (outreach and awareness material, safety planning, healthy relationships, etc.) in approximately 80 languages. 

Translated material often requires adaptation for cultural relevance. This may be due simply to vocabulary, for example, some individuals may be more familiar with the terms that in English translate to “family violence,” “wife abuse,” or “mistreatment,” than with “domestic violence.” Other adaptations may be needed to explain common services and advocacy models in the US, such as orders of protection and hotlines.

Tip for putting this strategy into practice

Practice active listening – this can cue you in to where you may need to work with the survivor to develop shared language, or you may need to provide definitions and explanations. Support your program’s language accessibility by taking note of where a translated document you use appears to be unclear or incorrect, and developing recommendations either for a revision or for improving advocates’ communication on the document.