Did you know that making information available for all employees in their mother tongue will not only improve employee satisfaction but also increase their morale and productivity?
You may be wondering, why should I translate company policies, documents, and communications. Isn’t it easier and cheaper to have everything available in English even if that is most employees’ second language? The simple answer is no, the advantages of translating these documents and communication far outweigh the investment.
There are many benefits to translating internal documents and communication. Doing so will ensure your employees feel included, equal, confident, and content with their work. This, in turn, will increase their productivity and lower the possibility of making mistakes due to information being lost in translation. Employee misinterpretations and lack of knowledge could end up causing your enterprise far more than simply hiring a translation agency to help you bridge the language divide.
The first thing you should do to improve your employee’s work experience is to update your Learning Management System (LMS). Do this and you will be able to manage all aspects of your company’s various training efforts in the languages your employees speak. Conduct an audit of your LMS and your workforce to determine what languages you have and what you need to add.
Also, review catalogue content. You must be clear about what content you expect to be translated or available in all languages (analyse which sections of the LMS are used the most). It may not be necessary to translate every single section of your LMS. Ask your technical department to track how much traffic each content page attracts and start by localizing the most used and relevant.
It is ineffective and inconsiderate to onboard someone in a language they don’t speak fluently. Even if they speak excellent English, materials written in a foreign language could be more difficult to grasp and seem less pertinent. Imagine how confusing all those company policies, manuals, and memos can be.
Conversely, it is also true that training and incorporation into the team happen more quickly and easily when done in your mother tongue. It is not only easier for both parties, but native language is also optimal for memory retention, whereas learning in a foreign language lowers mental imagery and may even have an impact on moral judgement.
Documents to translate:
Take this example, if you are a fitness trainer and you offer a class for all levels, it is far less likely people will come to your class than if you were to offer a class for a targeted group such as beginners or runners. It is the same case with documents and information – if you intend them to supposedly be consumed by everyone, chances are they’ll be consumed by no one.
To avoid linguistically ostracizing your foreign employees, make sure to have information available in their mother tongue.
Documents to translate:
If you have employees working in offices all over the globe, chances are your contact centre does not offer support in everybody’s native language.
Imagine one of your employees, Aisha from sales, has a problem with your internal chat app – it is running extremely slow. Instead of contacting English-speaking support with the help of an online translator yet again, she decides to simply ask her colleague Ahmed for help. He says he knows what to do and downloads some free software to make the computer run more smoothly. In this case, Aisha could easily have breached security for the entire company, all because she did not feel confident to contact support in a language she doesn’t speak.
Documents to translate:
As mentioned earlier, research has shown that humans absorb information much more effectively and are far more likely to take this information seriously if it is in their mother tongue. Otherwise, they could suffer from a loss in judgment and not be able to retain any of the information.
Knowledgeable employees are more likely to be productive and to take proactive measures to resolve problems before they unnecessarily climb the ladder. Making knowledge bases available in everyone’s native language can encourage individual employee development and foster a more energetic workplace throughout the entire firm.
Documents to translate:
Lastly, failure to translate company rules and guidelines can cause safety hazards. Especially in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture corporations, employee safety is paramount. And in the digitalized world we live in, cyber security is important for any business that uses the internet.
Safety information must be clear and understandable for every employee. For their health and safety, as well as for the safety of the company.
Documents to translate:
Employees will feel included and more willing to uphold the company policies if they understand them. This will increase employee retainment which will benefit the company in the long run. Statistics have shown that it is much more beneficial for a company to have a staff of loyal employees that they continuously educate than to have to constantly train new employees.
Companies are also legally required to translate some of their HR content if they are a global organisation. Failing to do so could result in an unwanted confrontation with your local legislation and employment law forces. Something every enterprise would rather avoid. Contact us to find out what documents you need to translate.
Asking employees to conform to one language, usually English, can cause sub-group division by the language spoken and a lack of understanding and interest. This is not great for team morale!
By translating internal communication, you are not only making it more accessible to your multinational employees, but you are also showing that your company is willing to grant equal opportunities to everyone. An enterprise that is renowned for being considerate and caring towards its employees is much more likely to attract the finest talent from around the globe.
Most HR policies and documentation contain legal jargon and phrasing that even the most skilled non-native English speakers could find ambiguous. There are even cases where legal terms differentiate in the same language depending on the country.
For example, in Spanish from Colombia and Venezuela, cancelar un pago (cancel a payment) means "settle a payment", while Spanish speakers from any other country would understand cancelar un pago as "cancel a payment". Therefore, if there can be ambiguities in specific terms for native speakers of a language, imagine how confused non-native speakers could get.
Translating HR documents into multiple languages spoken by your employees will encourage them to familiarise themselves with the company’s policies and documentation. However, translation, especially of industry-specific texts and legal documents, needs to be carried out by qualified translators. Otherwise, you could end up confusing your employees even more.
Examples of legal documents and HR policies:
Some HR documents and communication will require a higher level of precise translation than other content for it to be fully understood and accurate. The repercussions of poorly translating an internal email about an office party will not be as severe as incorrectly translating legal documents, policies, and company announcements.
Documents that require top-quality translation:
It is more affordable to translate through a translation agency than to hire a freelance translator. It also ensures a higher quality translation than if you would use free online translation programmes.
All our staff members and freelancers at LMI Translations are masters and experts of language, ensuring that our work is consistently accurate and quickly produced. We work in over 63 languages and over 200 combinations and can adapt to our clients’ varying demands and industries.
We can provide a service package of translation + editing or Full MTPE (machine translation post-editing), thus economizing your resources and time. We use some of the best MT tools to produce texts that are comprehensive and unambiguous so that our expert linguists can polish them to perfection in a fraction of the time it would take to translate from scratch.
We also offer online live interpretation which can make learning more accessible. Zoom allows you to add up to 20 interpreters per meeting. Imagine your company is leading an online conference in English, but not all of your employees can fully grasp everything that’s said. Hire a skilled interpreter from LMI Translations to translate the conference live so that all of your employees can feel included and be up to date. Because let’s face it, even if they do understand English, if they’re not entirely fluent, they may not have the desire or patience to listen.
In conclusion, localizing your internal resources and communication that are accessible to employees can improve HR support and promote employee initiative. This translates into a more effective organizational level, elevated employee productivity, and a reliable and strong brand for your business. Plus, your employees will enjoy their job a lot more and want to stay at your company, thus perpetuating mutual growth.
With all that said, the advantages justify the expenditure of hiring a translation agency to localize your internal content. Particularly if deployment is resource and cost-effective, applying MTPE where possible and translating the most crucial content first.
At LMI Translations, we support major international enterprises in overcoming the challenges of bridging the language gap, while generating a high ROI. We can make your company flourish in ways you hadn’t thought possible.
Feel free to book a call with us to discuss your action plan and take the first step to a more productive and content workplace environment.
Your business just might be a powerful multilingual money-maker.