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New Calgary traffic safety videos to be translated into 8 languages

They had exceptional success with how-to-vote videos during the 2017 civic election, so 12 Community Safety Initiative (12CSI) has launched a series of animated Calgary traffic safety videos.

With the help of an Alberta Transportation grant, 12CSI completed the first of four videos Aug. 19 – the first on driving under the influence of cannabis. The twist on these ones is that all four will be translated into eight languages.

“(The election videos) were a way to communicate with our diverse audience,” said 12CSI executive director, Larry Leach.

12CSI is a community action coalition for east Calgary communities on the immediate north and south sides of 17 Avenue SE.

Grant made traffic safety videos possible

Leach identified an Alberta Transportation grant that allowed for the video production, and the translation into four Indigenous languages (Blackfoot, Stoney, Cree and Dene) and four ethnic languages (Punjabi, Arabic, Spanish and Vietnamese).

“We’re super proud that we’re able to do that and our organization has the connections in the community to help get these simple traffic safety messages out there,” Leach said.

They’re hoping the use of the Indigenous languages helps some members of that community (and others) connect or re-connect with Indigenous culture.  

The videos include the aforementioned cannabis video, one on how the posted speed limit is for ideal driving conditions (and adjustments need to be made for adverse conditions), another on protecting vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians and the last one is on distracted driving.

Father, son collaborate on community project

One interesting piece to this endeavour is the animator is Leach’s son, Rory. Rory, 19, is going to school for video production in Vancouver and the pair were able to collaborate on this community project. Rory grew up in northeast Calgary and that made it easier for the two to come up with a similar vision.

“It’s a cool opportunity for dad and son to work together,” said Leach.

The Calgary traffic safety videos feature a diverse cast of animated characters in the different traffic scenarios. The first includes a non-white police officer, while the person smoking in the video is white.

The next Calgary traffic safety video is expected out just before Christmas. At that time, Leach said, they will begin the translation process.

Views, feedback define traffic safety video success

Success will be defined by how many people they can reach, how many find value in the lessons and, ultimately, in the feedback they receive, Leach said. 12CSI is hoping these latest videos are the start of an ever-expanding library of easily-accessible videos that can provide information to Calgarians that may not feel comfortable seeking the information elsewhere.

Leach even thinks if they catch on that people in other jurisdictions may view them for information, not just Calgarians.

“One of the things I love about YouTube, the Internet, video – people from anywhere can look at it,” said Leach.

“We’d like to reach people in 12 communities, but it’s open to everyone.

“Share widely and enjoy.”