Multi-lingual online consultation

Multilingual online consultation just got a step closer with EngagementHQ’s second language sites.


One of the most common questions I am asked whenever I present at conferences, particularly those with a public sector slant, is “does this work for CaLD communities”? CaLD, for the initiated, is used in Australia as the shorthand for “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse”. It is often used in connection or occasionally interchangeably with another lovely acronym, NESB, or “Non-English Speaking Background”.

My honest answer has unfortunately always been; not really! Until such time as someone invents the perfect “Babel fish” for instant and accurate interpretation of multilingual online dialogue, it will remain a dream for the future.

The good news is we have taken a big step forward in making online consultation in second and third languages much simpler and therefore much more cost effective.

The back story…

The Bang the Table team have been working with our Canadian distribution partners, Sustainet Software, to make EngagementHQ work for the Canadian Government for close to two years. Our first effort, back in 2009, was an online consultation portal in English and Canadian French for Parks/Parcs Canada about the management of Nahanni National Park in Canada’s remote northwest territories.

Right now we are running a private discussion for the members of two very large Canadian professional associations to consider the ramifications of a potential merger.

And while we’ve created a series of English language sites for City’s in British Columbia and Alberta, we will soon be launching a series of new sites for the French-speaking Province; Quebec.

This has prompted us to focus hard on the issue of simplifying the process of building and maintaining a second language site. Let me tell you, it is NOT easy.

The solution…

After much hard work and repeated testing we have finally solved the riddle.

We are now confident that we can build a new site based on EngagementHQ in just TWO weeks in just about any language you care to name (provided it uses the Modern Latin Alphabet – other scripts would take a while longer)!

Which means that if you are thinking about running an online consultation with one or maybe even two or three specific language group communities… it’s now feasible. Which we think is pretty cool!

Of course there is a little bit of fine print.

While we have a global team of moderators working day and night to look after rest of our sites; we can’t moderate non-English speaking sites. Which means you will need to line up your own moderation team. To date we have dealt with this by hiring French speakers in Canada and France.

Drop us a line to talk through the process, pricing and any other questions you might have.

Photo Credits: Trane DeVore

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