New media & language access


Bilingual widget helps English and Spanish speakers understand common HIV/AIDS terminology

New media, social media, web 2.0 technology are all different terms to describe interactive digital media that help disseminate information to communities with digital access. Building on the popularity and accessibility of these tools, non-profit organizations, businesses and government agencies see the value investing time and resources in order to help reach and expand their audience. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health released a bilingual widget with common HIV/AIDS terminology.

Maricarmen Arjona of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) notes that the “glossary includes those concepts, terms and colloquial vocabulary used in the public health sector and field of HIV/AIDS.”  The widget is easy to use and can easily be embedded for use on a website.

Can folks in the sexual violence field identify a similar tool?  In the past few years, we have witnessed the popularity and utility of twitter, Facebook, blogs and apps (such as Hollaback!) to build and sustain momentum as we work to end sexual violence. But when it comes to bridging linguistic differences, have we done so in our movement by using new media?

Livia Rojas, MSSW, is the Training and Resource Coordinator in the Campus Program at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) where she provides training and technical assistance to recipients of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Grant to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking on college and university campuses across the United States and territories. Livia has eleven years of working to advance human rights and student organizing through practice and research.

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