We recently found the document to the right. It is a Turkish translation of their glossy "Equality News" magazine from 2003-04. The latest edition, in English, can be found here and they appear to translate it, each year, into Bengali, Chinese, French, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese. Given that the document is twenty pages long, getting it translated into all those languages and then printed will have cost thousands of pounds each year.
The best statistics I can find don't quite give us the number of Turkish or Vietnamese people in Southwark, but the Chinese appear to be 1.83% of the population and both Vietnamese and Turkish people presumably fit within the dubious category "Other Asian" who are collectively 0.62% of the borough's population.
We do recognise that sometimes translation needs to be arranged for those who don't speak English, or don't speak it well enough to access important services. That means the police and hospitals, in particular, need translators and may need to translate some documents. However, "Equality News" is a dubious propaganda sheet that puffs up various equality initiatives in the area. It probably shouldn't exist at all, if the various schemes it covers are really of interest to the public the local media will cover them. Mentioning them on the website is a more economical way for Southwark to acknowledge the projects than a glossy magazine. Even if such a document is felt to be necessary, though, this is hardly the kind of thing that really needs translating.
There are a few questions Southwark need to answer on this publication:
1. How many people speak Bengali, Chinese, French, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese in the borough?
2. How many people speak Bengali, Chinese, French, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese and don't speak English?
3. How many people speak Bengali, Chinese, French, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese and don't speak English, and want to read Equality News?
4. How many people speak Bengali, Chinese, French, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese and don't speak English, and want to read Equality News in their native language rather than learn English so they can enjoy that fine publication in the original?
Why don't you write to Councillor Adele Morris, Executive member for citizenship, equalities and communities, and ask? She can be reached at: [email protected] or Members' Room, Southwark Town Hall, Peckham Road SE5 8UB. We would appreciate it if you forwarded any response you get to us at [email protected].