Co-Design: The Future of Translation?

By Hasara Liyanage

The traditional translation process has always been quite linear. Once translated, your resource is distributed to your target audience and that’s the end of it. Very few multilingual resources in Australia are created with communities, for communities. So is there a better solution to traditional translation?

Co-design proposes that we take a different approach to the translation model many of us are used to. It’s a participatory process that involves designing a resource collaboratively with stakeholders and end user’s input in mind.

It takes the lived experiences of the target audience and combines it with the traditional design process facilitated by communications experts. The final outcome aims to create a translation that meets the needs of all those who participate. In the context of translation, it means including translators, interpreters and intended recipients of your message in the process of actively creating a resource.

The abstract nature of Co-design means it can be quite difficult to see the benefits from the beginning. It requires critical thinking, efficient project management and strong communication.

How does this look in practice?

Co-design can be as simple as asking your target audience what they need. It can be done via interviews, surveys, polls etc. On the more complex side, you can look at journey mapping or creating personas based off real experiences. The aim is to gain a new perspective and to do so by employing the help of translators, interpreters and bi-lingual facilitators early on in the process.

Factors such as having an interpreter present in your community focus group can allow more complex ideas to be communicated in an accurate and concise way. It also makes people more engaged and interested in your organisations and the resources you’re producing.

Diverse people deserve diverse solutions.

This human-centred design process is the key to uncovering the nuanced issues that many CALD community groups face. Co-design encourages further discussion that goes beyond the production of resources. How community organisations and stakeholders choose to participate can drive the success of the current project, as well as future endeavours.

By allowing traditionally marginalised groups to voice their concerns in a supportive and facilitated way, organisations will be able to connect on a deeper and more critical level. The benefits to co-designing resources are truly limitless. It’s time we take that step and evolve into the new era of communication.

Benefits of Co-designing your multilingual resources

Co-design is a great example of collaborative innovation. It treats end-users and clients as equals throughout the process. It aims to define the problems and envision solutions. It helps clients and diverse communities to actively engage and forge constructive relationships that empower all participants.

The benefits of creating your multilingual resources in a process of Co-design are:

  1. Direct access to your target audience
  2. Increased engagement by all participants
  3. Sharing ideas and knowledge
  4. Involving stakeholders in creating the resources
  5. Giving everyone a contributing voice
  6. Creating a lasting social impact

Where does Polaron fit in?

We’re committed to ensuring everyone has a platform. That’s why every three months Polaron holds a CALD community forum. This an opportunity for you to speak your mind. This interactive forum is where worlds collide; with panellists, community leaders and translators from all over Australia tuning in. Watch our last interactive forum on CALD co-design here.

Still want to know more about Co-design?

Watch our Ticker Talks episode on CALD Co-design: How to Produce Engaging Resources.

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