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  • The Importance of Professional Translations for Human Resources

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    Ensuring your company's human resources translation needs are properly managed must be a priority in today's world. With more people and businesses crossing the boundaries between countries and cultures than ever before, the need to communicate effectively with employees across a variety of languages has never been greater. The importance of ensuring that all of the employees of a company understand the priorities, policies, and overall culture of the business can help the brand image as well as reduce internal policy misunderstandings. This is not to mention that in an ever greater number of cases, proper human resource translations are also a legal requirement.


    Companies often spend a great deal of time and effort having their internal teams craft memos or announcements that are put out to their employees across the globe. If these memos are not properly translated, they can often be misinterpreted, and depending on the content, they may also be in breach of a nation's workplace language laws. This is just one example of how, in international business, even the most benign actions can be a waste of money, time, and in breach of legal requirements. Without professional translators who understand both the culture and language of your many employees, a massive variety of unforeseeable issues can arise. 


    In this article, we are going to delve a bit into why businesses that plan to operate across language boundaries these days must invest in having the proper translation teams in place for all of their human resource needs. 


    Major Reasons to Invest in HR Translation Services 


    The following are some of the most common reasons cited by companies who look into dedicated translation services for their Human Resources departments.


    Proper Human Resources Translation Helps Companies Retain Talent 


    Being able to effectively communicate with employees in their native languages not only allows a business to ensure that every employee understands what is being communicated, but it also says to employees that the company cares enough about them to invest in their relevant needs.


    Translations for Human Resources and other internal communications let employees know you care about effectively speaking to them.


    Employees that are spoken to in ways that show them enhanced respect and deference will appreciate being invested in, and are more likely to build loyalty to a company. Roughly 40% of employees in the United States (as per 2019) were willing to leave their current position for as little as a 10% increase in salary -this is attributed to poor employee engagement and a lack of meaningful corporate culture that they can participate in. 


    A Necessity for Being A Legally Compliant Company 


    It is not rare these days for the debate of hiring a new employee to begin with Googling "What does legal compliance mean," for the country they are located in. Being able to work from anywhere on the globe means that companies are not geographically restricted with their talent pools. Still, it also means there are many more laws to follow to be a legally compliant business across the globe. While the legal compliance definition changes from country to country and region to region, workplace language laws can usually be grouped into one of three categories:


    • De-Facto or ‘Unwritten’ Laws


    In many employment situations, such as when an employee is found to be in breach of a contract condition, the case must be taken to a local court or council. In many countries, employees can usually argue that since documents required by the local government were not submitted in the official regional language, they are void. Employees often win these cases. Cases with such results can be found everywhere, from Germany to Vietnam.


    • Enforceability Prohibitions:


    In other countries, like Chile and Russia, any documents or contracts that were not issued in the required language are found to be void even if the document's recipient spoke the language the paper was submitted in. The company cannot take action on an employee who was not subject to a policy or contract not written in the language in question.


    • Flat Prohibitions:


    In some countries, like many of the Francophone ones, harsher restrictions are in place. When a flat prohibition law exists, companies may be punished for issuing documents in languages outside of the local language. Translating Human Resource documents is necessary in such cases.


    Quality Internal Translations Help Employees To Put Out Better Work 


    It is pretty apparent how translating memos from human resources and other internal documents can help reduce confusion amongst employees and provide for a more productive workday. Miscommunications often have an exponential effect on reducing productivity -mistakes, backtracking, corrections, etc. all become problems that need solving on top of the general workload. Keeping everyone on the same page reduces these issues.


    In addition to reducing mistakes, excellent human resources translation can also keep employees working longer and harder. By speaking to employees in languages they are more comfortable with (or have a strong cultural connection with), they are more likely to become more engaged and invested in the success of the company. Better employee engagement has shown to have concrete results. According to Gallup, more highly-engaged teams show profitability increases by up to 21%. Groups with high rates of engagement and personal company investment also had reduced absences and had less turnover. 


    HR Translation Services Help Avoid Causing Offense 


    It is no secret today that businesses are expected now, more so than ever before, to have a social role in one way or another. Companies must not only be able to service their customers; they must often also be able to demonstrate to both customers and employees that they are a socially conscious organization. 


    According to Allegis Group, 82% of Gen Z workers believe corporate responsibility is a major factor for deciding where to work and 66% would take a reduction in pay to work for what they believed was a more socially responsible company. 


    When it comes to speaking to employees, just as with customers, a business must avoid offending people -both for the sake of the person being offended and for the overall brand image; this is not to sound callous or to ignore the human element, as we should never want to offend anyone, but disgruntled employees can be devastating for a company.


    If a company is employing people with a diverse set of language requirements, they likely have a diverse set of cultures they must be aware of. Many HR Translation Services specialize in overcoming just such obstacles.

    This leads us cleanly into our next point...


    Specialists Are Required for HR Translations 


    Merely having a bilingual person translate documents word for word might not cut it. As we just discussed, speaking to an employee properly requires both an understanding of their language AND their culture. Some professional translation companies use either locally based specialists or experts to ensure every word makes sense in the proper cultural context.


    For all of the reasons listed previously, you want to ensure you are communicating in all of your human resource content, as well as any other internal work, (and really all content you put out) in the proper language with a good cultural understanding of what you are saying means. 


    The easiest way to explain this is with a rather humorous example from the advertising world. A while back, there was an advertising campaign for Coors Light beer that went into Spanish speaking countries with the tagline "Turn it loose," which had worked well in English speaking areas. While Coors had no problem getting the literal translation right, suéltalo con Coors, they failed to realize that in Spanish, the phrase more accurately came out to "Suffer from diarrhea." The truth behind this specific tale is debated, but it is fun, and similar mistakes occur all the time.


    Simply put, you don't want to accidentally say something like that to your employees when you were trying to tell them to have a good time and 'cut loose' this Friday. This is why specialists are needed to translate human resources to Spanish; even a commonly understood language has critical cultural nuances.


    Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Translations for Human Resources 


    This was only a brief overview of why so many of the major companies worldwide are investing heavily in ensuring their internal communications speak to every employee. Human Resource communication translation has a unique need for accuracy and cultural sensitivity, as well as the need to keep all communications consistent with the overall brand. The more a company can use references, phrases, and wordplay associated with the respective language and culture, the more employees and customers will appreciate what is being said.


    Common HR Content that should be translated:

    • Guidelines and handbooks for employees
    • All training materials and safety materials
    • Compliance and employment documents
    • Codes of conduct
    • Internal emails, memos, announcements
    • Anything that is necessary for day to day operations.


    Whether you need human resource work translated to Spanish, advertising put out in German, or really anything put out correctly in over 90 languages, The Spanish Group is ready to help. The expert translators at The Spanish Group specialize in understanding the language, context, and culture of your target audience and ensuring all communication is deployed with the utmost care.


    Don't take the risk of offending your employees, the law, or of simply wasting time with ineffective memos. Contact The Spanish Group today and begin translating Human Resource work more effectively and professionally.