Pro-life messages more effective in local language – communication strategist

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Edwin Lopez of EWTN – Asia Pacific

MANILA, Oct 26, 2013—Apparently, pure statistics and flawless arguments do not cut it for the pro-life advocacy. According to a communication strategist, to be effective, pro-life messages need to be communicated in local languages.   

“The first rule in connecting is being able to speak in the intra-personal medium of the audience. That’s why we’re losing so much advantage as far as the pro-life advocacy is concerned…We will not really be communicating because we’re not using the medium of language of the people we’re trying to address,” communication strategist Edwin Lopez said during his talk at the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization titled “Connecting when Communicating.” 

He explained, the pro-life movement should use the intra-pesonal language of the audience or the language Filipinos normally “think in”, which is usually Filipino or their local dialect. Lopez noted how very few Filipinos actually “think” in English.  

C-D-E market 

“I think in Tagalog and speak in English; others may be thinking in their own dialect then translate it to English,” he said, further explaining the concept of the intra-personal language of people. 

Lopez, who is also the Asia-Pacific international manager for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), said he tried this out with his driver, asking him what an ‘abortifacient’ was. In Filipino, his driver answered, “Isn’t that what you rub on your belly when it hurts?” referring to efficascent oil. 

Talking in one of more than a hundred simultaneous streams of the PCNE last week, he emphasized how the average Filipino is from the C-D-E market, meaning coming from a lower socio-economic and educational background. 

Lopez, who is also a board member of TV Maria, said, the A-B class, who would probably have English as their intrapersonal language, make up only 1% of Filipinos. 

Simple language, emotional impact 

He also said, while knowledge about research, studies and scientific terms will always be a part of the pro-life advocacy, the goal of pro-life groups and organizations is to use “simple” language in an “emotionally engaging” way to communicate truths about human sexuality, abortion, contraception and chastity. 

“In the pro-life [movement], rather than talking about abortifacients — of course, this is important when  you’re talking to doctors and experts — our job is to bring it down,” Lopez explaining how “lectures” have been hurting the pro-life cause in the Philippines. 

He gave the specific example of abortion and how “giving the unborn a voice” and showing it through pictures will help the target audience understand why abortion is intrinsically evil without necessarily going into technical terms that most Filipinos cannot relate to. 

The PCNE was held from October 16 to 18 at the University of Sto. Tomas, Quadricentennial Pavilion and gathered some 6,000 participants from all over the Philippines and the world. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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