How to Handle Employee Document Translation

In Blogby Rafael Morel

Why translate documents intended mainly for your employees? Even though the principal language of the workplace is English, many businesses will be faced with employees who speak English as a second language.

While the employee’s level of proficiency in English may be adequate for most work tasks, supplying employees with documents in their mother tongue can help to improve productivity and accuracy on the job. It also shows employees that they are valued, which will boost workplace morale. Finally, providing employee document translations protects the company against legal liability.

Employee documents you will need to have translated include:

  • Job applications
  • Employee contracts and documents that explain compensation and benefits
  • New hire packages, including any tax and insurance documents
  • Training materials – slide shows and presentations, hand-outs, workbooks to be used during a training session
  • Marketing collateral (e.g. sales and demonstration scripts, product data sheets) that will be used principally by employees
  • Purchase orders, sales reports, and expense reports
  • Employee news bulletins, important memos
  • Code of conduct, employee assessment forms, disciplinary reports
  • Management standards

Businesses that need a one-time translation of employee documents that will be used over the long term will often find it most economical to  hire a business translator to work only on key documents. This same translation service can be useful when the company needs to produce foreign-language ad copy or promotional materials. And, of course, the same professional can be called upon to provide interpretation at a business meeting or international conference.

Hiring a translator who can provide quality work over the long term results in a positive experience for all employees, as well as for the company itself. Providing translated documents to an employee whose proficiency in English is lacking, ensures that the employee better understands the job to be done. Expectations and procedures are clear and, if there are any questions, the employee will be more comfortable seeking clarification. It may seem simpler and less expensive to just ask a bilingual supervisor to give a quick verbal translation but, in the long run, it pays to obtain a professional translation of employee documents.

When key documents are translated and signed, they also provide important legal protection for the company. Offering employee document translations shows that your business is running smoothly and that your employees’ interests are important to management.

Making translations available can help to protect the company against potential accusations of discrimination when it comes to the hiring process, employee evaluations, and selecting employees for promotion.

Finally, because a signed copy of a translated contract, code of conduct, or disciplinary notice can be used as evidence in court, human resources has proof that the employee fully understood expectations and was aware of the consequences for any failure to follow rules and procedures. This can reduce the incidence of civil lawsuits and provide valuable support for the company in the case of a suit for negligence or wrongful dismissal.

Contact us today to receive a FREE quote. Find out more about how to handle employee document translation by downloading our free Overcoming the Language Barrier eBook today.