Por Published On: February 9th, 2024

Have you had difficulties communicating with your team because their first language is not English? You are not alone. Based on NBC News, over 1 in 4 Americans will be Latino by 2060. Hispanics are now 19.1% of the U.S. population but are projected to make up 26.9% in nearly four decades. Even though you speak other languages, you prefer English because you understand all the nuances of the message. Well, this means that it is better to communicate in the receiver’s first language. 

When it comes to your Latino employees, the language barrier can be a near-constant obstacle to success. By considering why your internal business documents need translation to Spanish, you can ensure every member of your team understands and performs their part, ensuring your company’s operations resonate with excellence and unity. And let’s be honest; translating in Google Translate doesn’t cut it. Let’s dive into why translate internal Business Documents to Spanish is a must?

Schedule a free call to discover how translating corporate content helps you with your D & I efforts!

Importance of Effective Communication Internally to Your Latino Audience

In the United States, the Latino population is not only growing in numbers but also in influence and economic power. The ability to communicate effectively with this demographic is no longer a ‘nice-to-have,’ but a strategic business imperative.

Let’s dive into the specifics of what translating internal documents to Spanish can bring to your organization and why you should consider it an investment rather than a cost.

Benefits of Translate Internal Business Documents

Enhanced Collaboration

Effective collaboration is the backbone of successful business operations. When your Spanish-speaking staff can read and understand all the documents, from project briefs to reports, they are quicker to act and more aligned with the company’s goals. This lays the groundwork for a harmonious workflow and, ultimately, success. You even spend less time trying to explain in detail. 

A few years back, I was in charge of team members working in retail stores in Boston and some states in the Midwest and West; when I started the job, I noticed that some were Latinos and had limited knowledge of English. I was lucky I spoke Spanish, and they could reach out to me and ask questions about the tasks and how to communicate with others. If I had had documentation in Spanish for them, their performance would have been much higher.

Improved Employee Engagement

Understanding leads to engagement. When employees truly comprehend the mission, vision, and operational guidelines of the company, they can feel more connected and invested in their work. And as we know, an engaged employee is the most valuable asset to any organization seeking sustained growth.

Compliance with a Multilingual Workforce

Multilingualism in the workplace is not just a trend; it’s a new status quo. Compliance documents, safety manuals, and record-keeping must be accessible in the language each employee is most comfortable with. Legal reasons aside, this is about respecting everyone as a vital part of your organizational family. For example, it would be ideal to provide worker’s compensation information in other languages, including Spanish. This way, when there is a work-related injury, the employee will understand precisely what to do if English is not their first language. 

One of our recent clients in the textile manufacturing industry, with more than 13,000 employees, is translating all his company policies because a big percentage of their employees are Spanish-speaking. 

Better Customer Service

Your internal documentation plays a role in how your employees offer service. If a customer-facing employee cannot understand or explain a procedure properly due to language barriers, it’s your company reputation that’s on the line. Translate internal business documents paves the way for a consistent, high-quality service that is blind to linguistic differences.

Types of Internal Business Documents to Translate

In a company, many documents exist in various departments; the translation process must be thorough across the board. Here are some that you should consider translating:

Employee Handbooks and Policies

Your employees need to understand the expectations and benefits laid out in HR policies. The clarity provided by translate internal business documents prevents misunderstandings and grievances. 

Training Materials

The efficacy of training sessions is amplified when the materials are in the trainee’s first language. Participants can focus on the learning rather than interpreting the material itself. Job Aids, new software training materials, and managerial training, among others. It is essential if your organization is based in an English-speaking country, and you have operations in a Latino country to have all your guidelines in Spanish. 

When I worked at Spencer Stuart back in Colombia, we were the least compliant country of LATAM in terms of compliance. In reality, we weren’t the worst, but because our team members didn’t know how to work with the software, team members weren’t able to utilize it. We had to translate the software guide to teach employees how to use it. Once everybody started using it, the numbers really showed how good we were at compliance. 

Internal Memos and Communications

The flow of information is key to a smooth operation. What may seem like a minor memo to you could be a crucial detail to understand to someone whose primary language isn’t English.

Performance Evaluations

Feedback is integral to professional growth. Constructive evaluations are only useful if they can be comprehended and thus acted upon by the individual being evaluated.

It is important that when you provide feedback, you deliver it in the language the recipient understands the most. If Spanish is not your first language, and you must give verbal feedback, hire a company to translate what you say to someone in real-time. Miscommunication here can be a crucial factor in avoiding legal action. 

Challenges and Considerations

Translating internal documents is not as simple as running text through a translation tool. There are analytical, legal, and cultural aspects that require attention. You can go ahead and use Google Translate, but it does not include context, the intention of the source text, and much more. The Spanish vocabulary spoken in the USA is different than that in LATAM, and even a word is different in every LATAM country. 

I think some translators translate literally, which is highly inaccurate. Even the close captions in Amazon Prime and Netflix movies are very incorrect. Last month, I noticed watching several movies in English with captions in Spanish, as the person I was with didn’t speak English. I’m sure I’m not the only one that perceived this. 

Cultural Sensitivity

Words and concepts do not always have direct translations. A good translator must be aware of the cultural context they are translating to and maintain a sensitive approach to all material.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Different languages often imply different legal systems. Translations should not just convey the words, but also the legal implications of those words.

Quality Assurance

Mistakes in translation can lead to misunderstandings and costly errors. Rigorous QA processes are essential to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the translated documents.

Best Practices for Translate Internal Business Documents

Adopting best practices ensures the translation process is not only smooth but also yields high-quality, culturally appropriate documents.

Working with Professional Translation Services

Professional translators bring a wealth of expertise and will be able to provide translations and an additional layer of cultural advice. Again, do not pick an agency that only translates; pick one that has experience working in corporate America in different industries. 

Establishing Translation Guidelines

Consistency in style and content is crucial for ensuring the right messages are delivered across all documents and translations. For each client, we create a vocabulary document that only applies per client. Each company calls its employees differently. Some businesses prefer to be more informal than others. 

Ensuring Accuracy and Consistency

Review processes are necessary to ensure that unintended meanings or deviations from the original are avoided.

 

The decision to translate your internal documents into Spanish is not a matter of if, but when. It’s not just about checking a box; it’s about building an inclusive, engaging, and efficient organizational culture. By taking this step, you demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ success, and by extension, the company’s future. With the right approach, translating internal business documents to Spanish can bring about a new wave of productivity and innovation. Don’t let a language barrier be what stifles the potential of your business. Embrace the change and witness the powerful transformation it can bring to your company’s performance and culture.

Schedule a free call to discover how translating corporate content helps you with your D & I efforts!

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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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