Language policy for Helsenorge
Scope of the language policy
This language policy applies to all written, user-oriented communication and covers:
- all content on helsenorge.no
- forms on helsenorge.no
- social media linked to helsenorge.no
The language policy covers texts in Bokmål and Nynorsk, as well as translations into Sámi and foreign languages. It does not apply to the use of plain language.
The Act relating to language usage in the civil service (the Language Act/Mållova) states that Bokmål and Nynorsk are equal forms of the Norwegian language and equal written languages in Norway.
According to the Language Act, central government bodies, i.e. those that serve the entire country, must be language-neutral and alternate between the two forms of language. In all written public-oriented texts prepared by central government bodies, neither of the two language forms shall be represented by less than 25 percent, either on paper or online. Forms must be made available in both language forms. Government bodies must respond to all enquiries from private individuals in the language form that was used in the enquiry.
According to the content strategy for Helsenorge, it is the content owner who is responsible for providing texts in Nynorsk.
The following measures must be implemented in order to increase the proportion of Nynorsk on helsenorge.no:
- The Helsenorge editorial team shall raise awareness amongst local editors of their obligation to comply with the Language Act in the performance of their role.
- Forms on helsenorge.no must be available in both Bokmål and Nynorsk.
- The Helsenorge editorial team shall follow simple procedures regarding the use of Nynorsk on social media.
- We must continually strive to meet the requirement for at least 25 percent Nynorsk on helsenorge.no.
In addition, self-service solutions which require log-in, and which are thus perceived to be personal pages rather than information pages, must be made available in both language forms. There are many parties involved in this process and some technical development will be necessary. As a result, this is a longer term goal which is dependent on funding.
The Sámi Act states that Norwegian and Sámi are equal languages in Norway. Amongst the municipalities that are part of the Sámi administrative area, the Sámi population has linguistic rights when interacting with public bodies. Forms must be made available in both Norwegian and Sámi.
According to the Central Government Communication Policy (adopted by the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform on 16 October 2009), Government agencies must pay special attention to users of the Sámi languages, in order to ensure good communication with Sámi language users across the country.
This applies to the use of Sámi on helsenorge.no:
- On helsenorge.no, we use Northern Sámi. Of the three official Sámi languages in Norway (Northern Sámi, Lule Sámi and Southern Sámi), Northern Sámi is the most widespread, being used by around 90 percent of the Sámi-speaking population. Northern Sámi has also progressed furthest in its development as a written language.
- We must ensure that helsenorge.no caters for users of the Sámi language.
- The need for further translations into Sámi will be assessed in a dialogue with our collaboration partners.
Translations into English and other foreign languages
English is the highest priority foreign language on helsenorge.no. This is linked to the Central Government Communication Policy, which states that in order to reach the immigrant population with government information, every single agency shall consider whether it is sufficient to translate into English, or whether translations into other foreign languages are needed as well.
Content on helsenorge.no must meet the information needs regarding the health rights of individuals in Norway who have little or no Norwegian language skills. It is primarily health information which is specific to Norway that must be provided in English. In addition, we must provide up-to-date information about services on helsenorge.no.
We have established the following goals to improve communication in English:
- Information about the health service and health rights in Norway shall be available in English.
- Information about digital services on helsenorge.no shall be available in English.
- The most commonly used forms on helsenorge.no shall be made available in English.
- The need for further translations into English will be assessed through user surveys and in a dialogue with our collaboration partners.
In addition, digital services on helsenorge.no shall be made available in English. There are many parties involved in this process and some technical development will be necessary. As a result, this is a longer term goal which is dependent on funding.
Translations into other foreign languages shall take place on the basis of an ongoing internal assessment within the Helsenorge editorial team and in a discussion with our collaboration partners. In special cases, content should be translated into additional foreign languages (e.g. in the event of serious events such as the corona pandemic or an Ebola outbreak).