BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
IT is important that weather bulletins and warnings messages issued by the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) reach people in the rural communities in a simple and clear form in order for them to understand.
Having that in their strategy, the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service is currently working on simplifying the technical language used in weather forecasts and warning bulletins.
The weather pidgin version trial comes after several consultation workshops being carried out with stakeholders by which translations of the current English warnings templates to draft the pidgin version have been completed.
On Wednesday 12 January this year, the weather forecasting office made their first trial of the pidgin version of weather bulletin/warning and disseminate it on their Facebook page.
According to the Chief Meteorological Officer (forecasting), Mr. Edward Marau, the first trial was for Strong Wind and Heavy Rain warning bulletins only. He confirmed that pidgin version bulletins for other products will be tested at a later date.
“Currently, the pidgin version draft templates are circulating amongst the Met office and Weather Forecasting officers and the Director for their final comments and inputs.”
He further added that the purpose of the trial is to get comments and feedback from the general public and especially the audience (followers) of the weather Facebook Page.
“After just two days of trial, we have received very good comments and the pidgin version drafts look more improved than initial drafts.
“For a start, we are issuing these pidgin weather bulletin through our Facebook page purposely to receive comments and feedback from the public on areas that need to be improved.
“Once all pidgin versions templates are finalized, our Director will advise us to use it in other media platforms.
“Translating of weather jargon is quite difficult and therefore the reason of this trial is to get comments from the public on how best the warning messages can be made easier to understand it meaningfully during bad weather events,” Mr. Marau said.
Late last year, the Director of Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS), Mr. David Hiriasia said that the plan is to develop a simple weather messaging system.
He told local media that this is to improve and change the current weather technical terms or scientific terminologies into Solomon Islands pidgin so that it becomes much more simple, easier, and quicker for the rural population to understand.
He said that his office had previously made consultations with NGOs to help them in their work since NGOs have a good knowledge and experience in working with communities.
“It is quite a challenge for us when trying to simplify the technical terms, but as I have mentioned, we are working to make it a little bit simpler for the rural and remote population to understand especially during extreme events,” SI MET Director, Mr. Hiriasia said.