Nearly 17% of the U.S labor force is composed of Hispanics, so serious attention needs to be given to producing Spanish translation of content and ensuring that vital information is accessible to individuals whose first language is Spanish.
A company cannot exist without a team of dedicated employees. Employees perform at their best when the information they need is available and communicated effectively. Responsibility for effective communication begins at the hands of upper management, starting from the moment an employment contract is set before a new employee. Afterward, there are many points of communication that must be managed in order to develop employees in ways that are conducive to a professional and productive work environment.
As more Hispanics enter the workforce, consideration needs to be given for the fact that parts of this demographic are more comfortable communicating in the Spanish language. In such cases, Spanish translation for employee content is critical.
The impact of having professionally translated human resources content available to Hispanic employees cannot be emphasized enough. Part of this involves creating a safe work environment for them.
How secure would you feel about working at an office in which you did not understand much of the information being passed on to you, either verbally or written? It would be an intimidating environment in which you’d have a hard time being productive! If you worked in a high-risk environment, effective communication is vital. If human lives are on the line, a misstep in communication could result in lives lost.
Many wildfire fighting crews are made up of Spanish speakers, and up until 2 years ago, the government had provided Spanish language training material. Now with the lack of training material in Spanish, concerns over worker safety and efficiency have been rampant. Jaime Pickering works for MQ Franco, one of the largest Hispanic-owned contractors in the northwest. Pickering trains about 500 new firefighters each year, most of whom speak Spanish as their first language. Because of the lack of Spanish course material, Pickering and his trainees have had to rely on outdated manuals and Google translate.
In a high-risk job like firefighting, a complete understanding of the proper way to handle a situation is critical, and with tools like Google translate, it is all too likely for vital information to be lost in translation. Using outdated information only increases the risk of misinformation. For the safety of the firefighters and those around them, native Spanish speaking firefighters must have access to fully translated, up-to-date training material from English to Spanish.
Outside of serious situations like the one described, there has been a rising public concern of employee and workplace safety in general. New York State recently rolled out new sexual harassment guidelines that went into effect on October 9th. Under these guidelines, employers in New York State “must adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and training, or use a similar policy and training that meet or exceeds the law’s minimum standards”(source). The policy must contain information including examples of prohibited conduct, information concerning federal and state statutory provisions relating to sexual harassment, and procedures for complaint and investigation ensuring due process. New York State will be providing translations of its training resources into Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Haitian-Creole, Russian, Italian, Bengali, and Polish. Employers are also strongly encouraged to provide a translation of policy and training content in the language spoken by their employees.
This is a good example of a government organization understanding that an important policy like this should not leave room for misunderstanding and that having content in the language of the target audience is critical.
Depending on the company, there may be a long list of human resource document translations that need to be done to support Hispanic employees. Be the document big or small, English to Spanish translation must be done professionally so that Hispanic staff members are able to understand the material just as easily as English speaking employees do. The following is a short list of commonly requested translation services from companies that desire to support newly hired Hispanic employees:
Sometimes, in spite of management’s best efforts to promote a safe and professional work environment, conflicts and disputes still occur and legal assistance may be required. For Hispanic employees who prefer communicating in Spanish, professional Spanish interpreters would be an absolute necessity to ensure a fair resolution. Spanish interpretation may also be necessary during the training phase, either during official training sessions or during instances in which a Hispanic employee has a question or concern regarding a work process or regulation.
Always select a professional Translation company to work with your content. You need a trusted partner to guide you and offer suggestions for your translation project. Having a Spanish speaking employee might not be the best approach to translate your material into Spanish. Be careful to evaluate your options and select the best approach for your needs.
As more Hispanics are being employed, our translation company has seen an increasing demand for professional Spanish translation and interpretation services from companies who seek to establish or maintain collaborative work environments for their Hispanic employees. This includes requests for human resource translation in Canada, where Spanish is among the top 5 most spoken languages other than English and French.
Ultimately, the employee is the best judge of quality when it comes to effective communication. When your company provides high-quality Spanish translations of HR content, you help your Hispanic employees know that they are valuable members of the team which in turn gives them the confidence and motivation to perform at their best.