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Saturday, September 15, 2012





In describing disability, language differences challenge even the best intentioned


As media cover the Paralympic Games in London, many are trying hard to use the most inclusive language possible. But when it comes to foreign languages, what's inclusive doesn't always transcend those boundaries. And that can be a problem for journalists.


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The BBC has issued linguistic guidelines for its journalists covering the Paralympic Games.
But the guidelines only include English words — which is a problem for the many programs the BBC puts out in other languages.

According to the new rules, "disabled person" is preferable to "person with disabilities." "Invalid" and "handicapped" are unacceptable. To describe those without a disability, the BBC likes "non-disabled" more than "able-bodied."

The BBC program The Fifth Floor gathered three non-English language journalists to talk about this. Do these reporters translate the approved English terms? Do they use alternative expressions that might be locally acceptable but frowned upon in English? Or do they dream up new terms that make more sense in their languages?

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