Posted By P & L Blog

Gas Flame

Common Sense Advisory posted an interesting story about a gas company that translated a message to their customers in nine languages.  So far, so good.  Customers were instructed to read "important safety information", and that's where the company dropped the ball.  The important information itself was only in English.

Imagine how you would feel if you received the mailing and the information was in a language you couldn't understand.  Would you panic and worry about your family's safety?  Would you be concerned that your home was going to explode?  Probably.

The gas company was irresponsible.  What if there had been a tragedy because customers were uninformed? They need to re-think their communications strategy and decide whether the cost of translating information for their customers outweighs the potentially horrific costs of not doing so.

By the way, Common Sense Advisory calculated that it would have cost the utility less than $500 to have the information translated.  They offered some good suggestions on other ways the gas company could have shared the information with their multilingual customer base.  Can you think of any others? 



Photo by ShimGray under Creative Commons license.

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