The importance of receiving information in your native language or another language you know well is underlined when something unusual happens. At the moment, approximately 18% of Espoo residents speak a language other than Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue. For this reason, the City of Espoo communicates information about the coronavirus not only in Finnish, Swedish and English but also in 14 other languages. Since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, information has been communicated in multiple languages and this applies to many of the city’s services.
All coronavirus-related information is available in Finnish, Swedish and English on the city’s website at espoo.fi/coronavirus. Coronavirus instructions in different languages can be found at espoo.fi/coronainfo. Instructions and recommendations have been translated into Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Estonian, Hindi, Kurdish (Sorani), Persian, Russian, Somali, Thai, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
In the spring, the city launched a smartbot on its website. You can ask the smartbot questions about the coronavirus in a hundred languages. Besides Finnish, Swedish and English, the most common languages have been Spanish, Arabic and Russian.
In addition to the website, the city communicates information through social media and videos. The plan is to publish multilingual videos in December. The Hello Espoo group on Facebook communicates coronavirus information in English.
Coronavirus communication is a shared effort
We believe that the city’s responsibility is to strengthen a sense of community and increase the safety of Espoo and its residents. Collaboration with immigrant organisations and religious communities, among others, plays a key role in coronavirus-related communication. We are engaged in regular dialogue with the communities, and they are also constantly communicating to their members what the current guidelines are and why it is important for everyone to follow them.
The latest addition to multilingual coronavirus communication is the podcast episode in Somali, created as part of the city’s safety-related podcast Safe Espoo. During the episode, Somali-speaking experts discussed an individual’s responsibility during the epidemic and the things we can all do to improve safety in our daily lives. The city is also considering the possibility of producing Safe Espoo podcast episodes in other foreign languages.
We have also heard the shopping centres’ wishes to have multilingual information and will provide them with content for digital displays.
Espoo’s channels providing coronavirus information in different languages:
- Compilation of instructions in different languages: espoo.fi/coronainfo
- Materials to print and distribute:
- Instructions on how to use a face mask (Arabic, English, Finnish, Kurdish/Sorani, Persian, Russian, Somali and Swedish)
- Instructions with symbols: Important things to remember during the coronavirus epidemic (Arabic, English, Finnish, Kurdish/Sorani, Persian, Russian, Somali and Swedish)
- Coronavirus information in pdf format (Arabic, English, Finnish, Kurdish/Sorani, Persian, Russian, Somali and Swedish)
Safe Espoo podcast in Somali
Hello Espoo group on Facebook