Natural History

Language Policy

Version 01

Language Policy

1. BACKGROUND

1.1 The DITSONG: Museums of South Africa’s commitment to the constitutional provision on language is reflected in its vision, mission and values of promoting accessibility to its museums. Due to the very nature under which the DITSONG: Museums of South Africa (DMSA) operates, language barriers are inevitable. In its approach to address these barriers, the DMSA has formulated this Policy on the Use of Official Languages.

2. PURPOSE

2.1 Promote parity of esteem and equitable treatment of the official languages of South Africa for communication at the DMSA. Inform, educate and entertain DMSA visitors through provision of displays and interactions in languages which are predominantly used in the Gauteng Province.
2.2 Formulate programmes, policies and plans using the DMSA’s adopted official languages.
2.3 Provide guidance on how the DMSA will communicate with members of the public whose languages of choice are not one of the adopted languages of the DMSA.
2.4 Provide procedures to accommodate communication with people living with communication disabilities (e.g. hearing and sight impediments).
2.5 Provide guidance on a feedback mechanism regarding the use of official languages by the DMSA.

3. SCOPE

3.1 This Policy applies to all DMSA’s staff, Council and its sub-committees, stakeholders undertaking functions on behalf of the DMSA and all those involved in official communication within, for and/or on behalf of, the DMSA.

4. DEFINITION OF TERMS

DMSA DITSONG: Museums of South Africa
Accounting Authority The Council appointed by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture
Adopted Official Languages The languages adopted by the    DMSA   for official communication.
CEO Chief Executive Officer of DITSONG: Museums of South Africa
Minister The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture
DMSA DITSONG: Museums of South Africa
Executive Authority Means the Cabinet member who is accountable to Parliament for that public entity or in whose portfolio it falls in relation to a national public entity.
EXCO Executive Committee
External Communication Communication with the public and external stakeholders in general.
Internal Communication Communication amongst DMSA staff and the Council in
carrying out official duties.
Interpretation The conversion of the spoken word from a source language into a target language.
MANCO Management Committee
MCM Marketing and Communications Manager
Scribing Transcription of live time that may be done either on-site or from a different location.
Transcription Conversion of object materials, spoken words (live-time
transcription)    into written form, including mechanical recordings.
Translation The conversion of written text from a source language into a target language, sometimes a locale

 

5. LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

5.1 The DMSA has formulated this Policy on the Use of Official Languages, which seeks to give effect to the obligations of the DMSA to comply with:
5.1.1 The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996)
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (No. 108 of 1996) provides the framework for communication within the South African environment and regards freedom of expression and the public’s right to information as fundamental rights. It further provides for equality and language (Section 9(3)), language in education (Section 29(2)), language and culture (Section 20) and cultural, religious and linguistic communities (Section 31(1)).
Section 6 of the Constitution guarantees equal status to the 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. There is also recognition of the need to provide for the communication needs of the hearing and visually impaired.
5.1.2 Use of Official Languages Act (No. 12 of 2012)
The Use of Official Languages Act provides the framework when determining language use in communication activities. All departments must consider the usage, practicality, resources, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the public in deciding on the official language/s to use when communicating.
5.1.3 National Development Plan
While freedom to use all official languages is encouraged, for purposes of complying with the Use of Official Languages Act the DMSA’s rationale for adopting the listed official languages below has been informed by the nature of its mandate in unlocking the potential of the heritage collections through research and publications, educational programmes, and exhibitions.

6. DMSA OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

6.1 The DMSA’s museums are located in major cities in the Gauteng Province, namely Tshwane and Johannesburg, which are both tourist destinations and have the potential to attract people who speak most official languages. Taking into consideration the language, culture, religious and linguistic communities the adopted official languages include the following:
(a) Afrikaans
(b) English
(c) Sesotho
(d) Zulu

7. USE OF THE ADOPTED OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

The DMSA’s adopted official languages will be utilized as follows:
7.1 External Communication
7.1.1 All new internally developed permanent and temporary exhibitions will have a narrative in English and any one of the adopted languages. All programmes and tours will be offered in one of the four adopted languages preferred by the visitors. Official reports, such as annual reports, marketing materials, documents, records and transcripts and other official publications will be available in English. On request, consideration will be made to make these available in another adopted language. Public notices will be in English and any other predominant languages.
7.1.2 All programmes and tours will be offered in one of the adopted languages preferred by the visitors.
7.1.3 Official reports, such as annual reports, marketing materials, documents, records and transcripts and other official publications will be available in English. On request, consideration will be made to make these available in another adopted language.
7.1.4 Public notices will be in English and/or any of the adopted languages.
7.1.5 In order to promote equality and access the DMSA provides the following services upon request:
– Actual translations.
– Actual interpretations.
– Scribing.
– Teleconferences.,
– Machine interpretations and translations.
– Technological system translations or interpretations.
– Live-translations/interpretations.
– Transcriptions.
7.2 Internal Communication
7.2.1 Written Policies and Procedures
All policies and information relating to staff will be made available in English and/or any other adopted language. Other procedures and strategic documents will be made available in English.
7.2.2 Internal Spoken Communication
The conversing individuals can conduct internal oral communication in any of the adopted official languages provided that all involved understand the language(s) being spoken. The DMSA will, on request, provide an interpreter where reasonably required.
7.2.3 Staff Notices
All staff notices will be in English. Selected notices with a direct bearing on other language speakers will be made available in any one of the four other languages on request.
7.2.4 Hearings
In general, disciplinary hearings and grievance proceedings will be conducted in English, provided that translation and interpretation services in any of the official languages are made available on request for all who require the translation or interpretation in the language of their choice.
7.2.5 Employment Interviews
(a). All interviews will be conducted in English. Should a need arise for the use of another official language; interpretation services will be available upon request.
7.2.6 Council Meetings
All DMSA’s officially adopted languages will be the languages in which the DMSA’s Council and Council sub-committee meetings are conducted. Should a need arise for the use of another official language; interpretation services will be available upon request.

8. USE OF OTHER NON-ADOPTED OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

8.1 DMSA will consider using other non-adopted official languages upon request, provided there is the capacity to do so.
8.2 DMSA will send requests for communication outside the adopted official languages to DAC for translation.
8.3 DMSA will offer basic sign-language training to guides and education officers.

9. PUBLICATION OF AND ACCESS TO THIS POLICY

9.1 This Policy will be published in Afrikaans, English, Sesotho or IsiZulu where required.
9.2 The Policy will be available on the DMSA’s website (http://www.ditsong.org.za).
9.3 The policy will be on the intranet, and copies will be available at all of the libraries of the DMSA.
9.4 Roadshows to all DMSA museums will be undertaken to communicate the policy to staff.
9.5 An article on the use of DMSA’s adopted official languages will be written in the DMSA electronic newsletter.
9.6 A summary (highlights only) of the policy will be placed on notice boards at all DMSA’s museums and sites.

10. IMPLEMENTATION

10.1 Language Unit
10.1.1 In terms of the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012, any public entity must:
– Establish a language unit; and
– Ensure that the language unit is capacitated in terms of resources for effective functioning.
10.1.2 DMSA will apply to the Executive Authority for exemption of the establishment of the language unit in terms of Section 12 of the Act and if successful assign a senior employee to perform the functions of a language unit.

11. EXEMPTION TO ESTABLISH A LANGUAGE UNIT

11.1 The DMSA will apply for an exemption of the establishment of the language unit in terms of Section 12 of the Act and if successful assign a senior employee to perform the functions of a language unit.
11.2 Feedback Mechanism
11.2.1 Any person who is dissatisfied with a decision of the DMSA regarding its use of official languages may lodge a complaint in writing to the Language Officer.
11.2.2 Any complaint must be lodged:
a) In writing, and within three months of the complaint arising.
b) Any complaint must state the name, address and contact information of the person lodging it.
c) Any complaint lodged must provide a full and detailed description of the complaint.
d) The Language Officer may request a complainant to supply any additional information necessary to consider the complaint and to attend a meeting for the purpose of making an oral enquiry into the complaint.
e) The Language Officer will consider the complaint and respond in writing, no later than three months after the complaint was lodged, informing the complainant of the decision.
f) If the complainant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Language Officer, he or she may lodge an appeal to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the DMSA.
g) If the complainant is also dissatisfied with the decision of the CEO, he or she may lodge a complaint with the Accounting Authority.
h) If the complainant is still dissatisfied with the decision of the Accounting Authority, he or she may lodge a complaint with the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB).

12. DISCLAIMER

12.1 DMSA shall not be liable for any unintended interpretation or translation of any material or spoken words that might be construed as misleading or false.
12.2 DMSA is not undertaking to provide or make use of trained or specialized or sworn interpreters or translators, though it strives to provide reasonably accurate interpretation or translation.
12.3 No interpreted or translated materials of the DMSA shall be used for any other purpose besides the purpose for which it was intended for without the prior written consent of the DMSA signed by the CEO.
12.4 No interpreted or translated materials shall be used for monetary gain without the prior written consent of the DMSA signed by the CEO.
12.5 The DMSA shall not be liable for interpretation or translation that, in another language refers to a different connotation or is construed as an insult or prohibited or construed to be against the public moral.

13. ADMINISTRATION OF THE POLICY

13.1 This policy shall be administered and monitored by the Marketing and Communications Unit. Regular reports will be provided to HRREMCO and Core Functions Committee.

14. REVIEW OF THE POLICY

14.1 This policy will be reviewed every two years or as and when necessary.

15. APPROVAL OF THE POLICY

THIS POLICY CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE

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