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Originally Posted On: Improve Employee Compliance With HR Translation Services (telelanguage.com)
Strong communication can be the key to the success of any company, and the human resources department can set the tone for these communications within a company. Without clear, concise instructions from HR, things can unravel quickly, leaving employees confused and out of compliance.
Company policies, safety protocols, and employee handbooks must be presented in a way that every person working at their business is able to thoroughly comprehend. If they are given to an employee in a language that they are not fluent in, this person might miss key points in the writing, even if they can comprehend most of it.
Now, more than ever, people from all over the country and across borders are being hired to work by businesses around the world. Because remote and virtual work has become the norm in the business world, this has opened up the possibility of hiring employees from places far away from a physical workspace. No longer being limited to an office building means people from a wide variety of cultures, all with their own languages, are likely going to be working with each other. This can have many positive results for a business, as they are getting the very best candidates for a job from an employee pool that spans the entire globe.
With all these different people coming together to work for a company, it is imperative that all these people are on the same page with every aspect of the company’s human resource documents and protocols. Even subtle differences in comprehension of language can have negative effects on the company. Questions about what the proper practices are for interacting with management and other employees can arise if there is a language barrier between all parties involved. The cohesiveness of a brand and message may suffer when communication is not at its most efficient capacity.
Perhaps more importantly, if safety handbooks are not easily understood by every single employee in a company, it can lead to very costly, dangerous mistakes, and leave workers with injuries or worse. These are situations that can be avoided by making sure everyone has clear instructions on how to navigate the workplace.
The size of human resource departments varies from company to company. In fact, human resources may consist of a single person in a small or upstart business. However, from the smallest business to huge offices for multinational corporations, HR policies can have a direct effect on a brand’s reputation, the retention of quality employees, and customer service.
Therefore, it is so important that Human Resources have the means to translate all their documents and communications so that all employees can understand even the smallest details of protocols and policies. Instructions not written in someone’s first language make it that much harder for that person to follow, and in struggling to understand the material, they may miss key points, no matter how thoroughly they go through the handbook. On the other hand, translated material into one’s first language means that they can focus on the points at hand and not waste energy on comprehension.
A Closer Look at Human Resources
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Most people don’t think about the massive amounts of materials that come from HR. It is HR’s job to keep up-to-date documents that are required by the law and to protect employee records and information safe and secure.
When examining all the documents that HR actually deals with, it becomes apparent why translation services are beneficial. It’s in everyone’s best interest that all employees easily be able to comprehend these documents, no matter what language they speak.
HR documents may include:
- Explanation of payments
- Explanation of taxes withheld
- Benefits packages
- Employee handbooks
- Safety protocols
- Confidentiality agreements
- Non-competition agreements
- Insurance documents
- Employee surveys
Human Resources Translation Services and Company Compliance
Every successful company has an HR department that spells out the rules and expectations of an employee. These rules are put into place to create clear goals and clarify expectations, and this is done in writing that is easily accessible at any location or job site. What will happen to an employee if they are found in violation of these rules should also be explained in these documents. These rules work to keep every employee safe and in compliance.
Human Resources departments have the additional challenge of communication because they are often conveying information in their own company’s lingo, which will vary from industry to industry. In other words, no two HRs are the same, and each might have a different lexicon.
Even the nature and marketing of the company’s brand can affect the style and tone of the written documents that come from HR. This is where translation services become so important. Translating words themselves are not enough to convey HR’s messages successfully. As anyone who has translated a document through an online translator likely knows, translating the words themselves does not mean that the point of the document will get across.
At the heart of translation is a mastery of context, understanding that words have multiple meanings and that they may mean different things depending on where it is placed in a sentence. An extensive understanding of the grammar of the language to which something is being translated. Quality translation means that the documents have been closely studied and analyzed so that not only are the words translated, but the meanings as well.
The tone and voice of the documents should match the spirit of whatever the first language of the document was first written in. Voice can be translated just as words can by trained professionals.
Businesses Big and Small Benefit From Translation Services
Whether your business is a multi-national company, or one found within the borders of a single country, all can benefit from translation services. Some people may think that businesses within a single country do not need translators. This is, however, not an accurate statement. For example, just because a business is located solely in the United States, that doesn’t mean everyone will speak the same language. There is a large Spanish-speaking population in the country, and there are smaller, but still substantial amounts of other languages being spoken in the U.S., such as Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Arabic.
It is important to note that, while everyone may understand and speak the same language, that doesn’t mean that it is everyone’s first language. Whether something is written in one’s first or second language can have a strong impact on comprehension.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
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If a business wants to hire the best people for the job, they will be looking across all languages, cultures, and neighborhoods to seek out the right fit for their brand and the future leaders of their business. Successful companies know that letting language barriers get in the way of hiring is a poor business practice. These companies understand that bringing people from all walks of life together benefits their brand and will maximize profits through creativity and new points of view.
This is why HR professional translation services are so important. They foster a diverse business culture that can bring out the best in everybody. HR departments, when handbooks and policies are translated into everyone’s native language, act like a cohesive glue that can keep everything together and everyone on the same path moving forward. Many different cultures and points of view mean that it is of the utmost importance that compliance happens so that there is recognizable company culture common among everyone involved.
HR translation services not only promote diversity and inclusion but show its employees that they care about them and have respect for their culture. In turn, employees who are able to interact with HR in their own language will feel respected and engaged in their job.
Employee engagement is especially important for the success and productivity of a company as a whole. Happy employees are known to be more productive, as well as less likely to move on to other jobs, saving on the costly process of hiring and training.
Professional translation services also guarantee that the translated language used doesn’t inadvertently offend someone or put them down harshly. Again, context is everything, and even subtle differences in phrasing can mean the difference between positive, constructive criticism and harsh, hurtful language.
Corporate Compliance Translation Services
Not only is compliance through translation services good for a company’s productivity, but it may also be necessary to keep a company within the confines of the law. Depending on the location of the business, there may be laws in place that require that documents be translated into specific languages. Sometimes, there might not be any laws explicitly stating that an HR department have translation services, but unwritten laws or unwritten requirements still exist. For example, in some places in the world, employees can claim that documents that are given to local governments are void because they were not submitted in the regional language those governments are located in. It is not unusual for an employee to win with this argument. Other countries will simply void any paperwork not submitted in the regional language they require.
Some countries are bilingual, and the language used to create and submit documents depends on where the company or branch is located. An example of a bilingual location is Hong Kong, where Cantonese and English are both official languages. A company located here would have to investigate what languages are required for documents. Translation services would be very beneficial in instances like this.
There are many cases when improperly translated materials can open up a company to liability issues. If safety protocols are not available in a worker’s first language, not only does it put the employee in dangerous situations, but questions on if the company is legally liable because they didn’t provide adequate translation may be considered.
Another area where translation can protect a company from liability is in sexual harassment training. For the benefit of all parties involved, understanding what constitutes sexual harassment and what the consequences are should be spelled out and translated into every language necessary to cover the entire employee base. This should include the translation of all policies, as well as all training course materials.
Professional Translation for Human Resource Documents
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Human resource departments have many responsibilities that all work in tandem with each other. Slowing down HR’s work by unnecessary translation problems can do everything from cause a headache to the HR staff to losing quality employees, or even tarnishing a brand’s name and reputation. Utilizing a professional translation service means that there is no chance for misunderstandings, confusion, or bad blood between employees to happen just because of poor communication.
The highly trained translators at Telelanguage understand that quality translating is tough work, and it is not simply changing words from one language to another. Our translators who work with documents specialize in the written word because translating text is a specific skill set that not just anyone, even another translator, can do. In fact, all our written word translators have a minimum of two years of experience in the field.
If you are looking for translators for all your Human Resource documents, please contact the professionals at Telelanguage. We can meet all of your translation needs.