Key factors in planning your translation

It’s that time of year when we are planning, setting goals and thinking of what we want to achieve over the next twelve months. To make the most of your translation efforts, we have come up with these five key considerations for communication:

What is the message to be communicated?

The message will depend on both the goal of the communication and the audience with which you will be communicating. Consider some headline points that will be of interest to the audience, and that will meet your communication goals. If the goal is simply to share knowledge with the public, the message will be different to that of influencing policy and communicating with government officials or policy makers. Consider the interests of your audience, what is in it for them? This is not just an opportunity for you to talk all about what you have done, but to consider the needs and wants of your audience.

Who is your target audience?

Consider the audience carefully, the recipient of your message will determine not only the message but the delivery mechanism, structure of the communication and possibly the timing of the communication.

Who is best placed to deliver the message?

Not all researchers should be the one to deliver the message. Although you may be a confident speaker or have a charismatic nature, the message may be better coming from someone known in the industry, and that is highly regarded by the audience. Consider the characteristics of the person delivering the message, who can you reach out to as a champion in the field? You may only have one chance to share your message, influence decision makers, and create change so think carefully about who the best, the most influential, and the most insightful person is to deliver the message.

What is the best format for your message?

Once you have decided on your goal, the message to be communicated and your target audience you can start to consider the best format. Are you speaking in person either in a meeting or presenting at a larger forum, will you be providing information in a written format on paper or through an online report? You need to consider where your audience gets their information. How do they like to access and absorb messages? For example, messages targeting teenage girls would use a very different format and medium than messages targeting senior citizens. If you are considering social media, think about which platform and also the most suitable format of the information for that platform, is it mostly visual, such as an infographic, or is a long form worded blog post more appropriate?

How does your knowledge fit with existing knowledge and experience of the user?

According to Pawson et al. (2003), there are five types of knowledge, all of which need to be considered when sharing research evidence. These five types include research knowledge, practice knowledge, experiential knowledge, organisational knowledge and policy knowledge. Types of knowledge are held by different groups and individuals and must be shared and understood before any one solution will work. The context in which you are working and sharing research evidence will determine the value of your knowledge and must be taken into consideration. Importantly, remember that all knowledge is valuable.

If you want guidance and prompting for your KT planning, check out the template by Dr Melanie Barwick.

Do you have any tools or processes that you use in your translation planning? I would love to hear about them, please share your comments.