By Published On: March 27th, 2024

Effective communication within a diverse workplace is akin to a puzzle. Each piece must be shaped precisely to ensure the message is clear, supportive, and in sync with the company’s values. Ensuring that multilingual teams feel connected to the company’s mission can be daunting for HR leaders tasked with orchestrating this intricate dance. Here’s how you can bridge the linguistic gap and ensure your message resonates with all your team members, regardless of their language. Translating based on context is the key!

1. Understanding the Importance of Spanish Translations in HR

Linguistic inclusivity is pivotal for fostering a collaborative and supportive environment in a mosaic of multicultural talents. Spanish translation in HR is not merely a convenience but a strategic imperative for ensuring no one is left out. When it comes to sensitive HR matters such as policies, benefits, or career development, miscommunication due to a botched translation can have profound implications. Investing in high-quality Spanish translations in HR isn’t just about compliance; it’s about building trust and ensuring every employee feels valued and understood. 

Just picture this: you are onboarding people who mainly speak Spanish for the factory and giving safety directions, such as safety garments. They don’t fully understand the documentation provided and try translating with Google Translation or other AI. They misinterpreted basic directions and then had a work accident because they did not follow directions. What is the cost of this accident for the company? It is not only monetary, but the time you have to spend training and hiring new people, you name it!

2. Cultivating a Sound Translation Strategy

Before you start translations in HR documents, pause and reflect. What’s your end goal? Are you aiming for employee engagement, legal compliance, or a little of both? Tailoring your translation strategy to your specific objectives will save time and resources. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • In-House vs. Professional Translators

Utilize in-house bilingual staff members for routine, non-sensitive translations, but always defer to professional translators for legal, complex, or top-level communications. HR documents often contain legalese and nuances that require expertise to translate accurately. There may be some informal communication for which you would also prefer professional translation. These can be emails, not limited to emails, that can be ambiguous or delicate, like diversity. 

  • Develop a Glossary and Style Guide

Consistency is key. A well-defined glossary and style guide can maintain language uniformity across all your translated materials, and it doesn’t have to be limited to vocabulary. It can also include tone, formatting, and cultural references, ensuring the translations reflect your brand’s voice and values. At Skytop Digital Services, we always create a business vocabulary document for each client. We all call things differently and have a specific tone. We need to be consistent in every internal and external communication. 

  • Review & Feedback Process

Establish a straightforward process for reviewing and providing feedback on translations in HR. This step is crucial, allowing subject-matter experts to ensure that the translations accurately convey the original message.

3. Leveraging Technology for Efficiency

Technology can be your ally in the modern workplace, saving time and improving accuracy. Many translation software and platforms are available, each with its strengths. Here’s how you can use these tools effectively:

  • AI Translation for Speed

While AI translations can be swift, they often need more finesse of human touch, particularly for complex languages like Spanish. However, they can be a quick first step, especially when speed is of the essence. Consider using AI translations for internal documents or informal communication that doesn’t bear the weight of official statements.

  • Human Review for Accuracy

Balance AI efficiency with human expertise. Even the most advanced translation tool can miss context or nuance. Always have a bilingual HR professional review and edit translations before finalizing them. This extra step can catch any inaccuracies and ensure the translation is culturally appropriate.

  • Communication App Integration

If your organization uses a communication app, like Slack or Teams, look into integrating translation plugins. These tools can provide instant translations within the chat thread, making real-time communication across language barriers a breeze. You can also use Google Translate. 

4. Inclusive Communication Best Practices

Translating texts is just the tip of the iceberg. To foster an inclusive environment, you must also ensure that verbal communications cater to all individuals, regardless of their preferred language. Here’s how you do it:

  • Multilingual Meetings

When planning team meetings, offer the choice between the main working language and Spanish or any other majority language spoken by your team members. This consideration empowers your employees to participate fully, allowing them to use their first language’s nuances to convey their meaning more precisely.

  • Wellness in Multiple Languages

Mental health and wellness programs are an essential part of the HR remit. Resources and support in Spanish must be as robust as those in English. Whether offering therapy sessions, online seminars, or daily affirmations, ensuring every employee can access the help they need is critical. The offering is just not enough; communicating with them that this exists in Spanish is a must. Many organizations translate onboarding documents explaining these details in Spanish or other languages and provide services like therapy in Spanish and other languages. 

  • Celebrating Company Culture

Festivities, milestones, and company achievements should be celebrated so everyone can understand and enjoy them. If your company sends a newsletter or organizes events for these occasions, ensure that these communications are translated so no one feels left out of the celebration. If you cannot translate the documents into all languages, at least try to translate them into your company’s two or three top languages. 

5. Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Language is dynamic, and so, too, should be your approach to multilingual communication. Here are a few ways to keep the process adaptive:

  • Stay Informed About Language Evolution

Study how languages (mainly Spanish) evolve in the workplace and adjust your translations to reflect these changes. New generations bring new slang, colloquialisms, and idioms that professional translators need to know to keep their work relevant and relatable. Also, there are many words in English that Spanish-speaking people in the USA use in English, not Spanish. 

  • Encourage Feedback on Translations in HR

Create a culture where employees feel comfortable providing feedback on translations. This open dialogue can bring to light issues that have been missed and can be an excellent source of learning for future translations.

  • Invest in Staff Language Development

Offer language courses or support bilingual staff members in maintaining their proficiency. A workforce constantly improving its language skills is a big step toward creating a genuinely multilingual organization that speaks to its diversity.

By conscientiously ensuring that every part of your communication strategy is dialed into language diversity, you’re setting your teams up for success and your company culture up for enrichment. Translating your message into Spanish is not only about communicating words; it’s about building bridges, fostering inclusion, and ultimately making your HR strategies universal.

Schedule a free call HERE to discover how translations in HR can help your D&I efforts—and let’s not forget compliance!

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Written by : Juan Arroyave

I am passionate about making things happen! Most of the time, there is always a way, and I am eager to find it with you! I feel happy to be part of such a fantastic family/team. Let's always aim for happiness!

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