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Understanding of Spoken Communication

Indicator Phrasing

% of the target population that understands the spoken language used to communicate with them
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of the target population that understands the spoken language used to communicate with them

French: % de la population cible qui comprend la langue parlée qui lui est adressée

Portuguese: % da população-alvo que compreende a língua falada utilizada na comunicação que lhes é dirigida

Czech: % cílové populace, které rozumí mluvenému jazyku užívanému pro komunikaci s ní

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures the proportion of the target group members who understand the language that aid agencies use for spoken communication with them (for example, during meetings, to provide a response to their feedback, etc.). It shows the extent to which the spoken language used by aid agencies (and potentially other actors) hinders the target population’s ability to access information and provide relevant feedback and suggestions.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Calculate the indicator's value by using the following methodology: 


1) Select and record an audio file example of spoken communication that is intended for the target group members, such as an explanation of the beneficiary selection criteria, announcement of planned support or information about a new Community Feedback and Response Mechanism. It is suggested that the example is approximately 30 seconds long, so that it is easy for people to remember and subsequently explain its content. Ensure that the example does not contain any unnecessary jargon, technical terms and abbreviations. If several different languages are commonly used for spoken communication, prepare the same examples in these languages.



2) Include in any quantitative survey that is conducted among a representative sample of the target group members (both female and male), a section testing their understanding of the spoken example(s). Recommended survey questions include:

Q1: Do you understand spoken [specify the tested language]?

A1: yes / no / only little


(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES or ONLY LITTLE)


Q2: Now I will play a short audio clip for you. When I finish, please explain to me in your own words what the clip is explaining. [play the recording from a mobile phone, tablet or another device up to two times if needed]

A2: _

1) the respondent understood the spoken text

2) the respondent did not fully understand the spoken text



3) If there are several languages commonly used by the aid agencies for spoken communication with the target population, repeat steps 1 and 2 for the remaining languages.



4) To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of people who understood at least one of the tested languages by the total number of respondents. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by gender, age groups, ethnicity and other vulnerability factors. If you test more languages, report separately on the percentage of the target population members that understand a given language.

This guidance was prepared by People in Need and Translators without Borders ©

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