Business Disability Forum launches new global language guide for employers

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4 Jan 2023

Business Disability Forum has launched a new global guide to disability language for employers and businesses.

Sponsored by HSBC, ‘Lost in translation: A global guide to the language of disability’ calls on employers and businesses to break down barriers by engaging in conversations about disability at an individual and organisational level. The guide provides practical advice on reviewing and discussing language, and introducing positive change.

The guide recognises that many organisations may avoid discussions about disability even though disability affects 1 billion people worldwide. Fears around using the ‘wrong’ language, along with cultural differences, language barriers, and the ever-evolving nature of language are some of the common challenges facing businesses – which too often means they say nothing.

Business Disability Forum believes that this is an issue that organisations need to tackle in order to be able to break negative stereotypes and create more inclusive workplaces, brands, and customer experiences.

The guide draws on existing practice and research as well as feedback from Business Disability Forum’s Global Members and Partners and other global organisations. This included feedback from disabled people.

The guide offers employers and businesses advice on:

  • Identifying barriers around language and communication at a global level.
  • Addressing common concerns about the use of disability-related language
  • Developing practical ways to involve customers and employees in discussing and regularly reviewing language around disability.
  • Considering the use of appropriate and respectful disability-related language in different situations and locations, recognising that one-size does not fit all.
  • Promoting the use of inclusive language in their brand guidelines and practices.
  • Knowing what to do when language offends.

Go to Business Disability Forum’s Knowledge Hub for further information and to access Lost in translation: A global guide to the language of disability’.