Any company doing business in international markets knows that appropriately translated corporate communications are essential for conducting business well. Global businesses may not only face language barriers routinely with their clients, but also might run into difficulties communicating internal policies and procedures with employees.
International offices enable greater access to global markets, but businesses often fail to anticipate the uphill battle they may face when it comes to communicating internal processes and adapting them to local cultures.
Expanding a business into a new country can be a formidable undertaking. Many firms only concern themselves with the external aspects—finding a location, marketing, hiring employees, opening a bank account, and so on. The legal paperwork to register and run businesses abroad, as well as the need to remain compliant within multi-country regulatory guidelines, can often be factors holding businesses back from expanding.
Yet establishing internal guidelines and expectations for interdependent offices is also a crucial aspect of successful international business management. Even simple things, such as dealing with different time zones, can cause frustration for companies operating in multiple countries around the globe. Without properly translated internal documentation, management of these offices can be much more difficult than necessary.
Organizations that have operations in numerous international locations greatly benefit from translating their internal documents into multiple languages. This facilitates ready understanding and acceptance of organizational objectives, policies, and procedures.
Any internal documentation that will be used in your global markets and multi-language offices should be translated so that all staff have access to the information in their native language. Accurate translation of internal corporate communications is an imperative move toward making your global offices compliant, effective, efficient, and treated equally.
Maybe you already know that internal documents need to be translated, but your budget for translation is slim. Which pieces should be translated first?
What Corporate Communications Should Be Translated?
Nearly all of your business’ internal corporate communications should be translated into the languages most commonly used by your employees.
Not only is this good business practice as a general rule, but it’s also vital to ensure that your business treats its employees, partners, and investors equitably regardless of their language differences.
As with any aspect of your move into international markets, the prospect of translating your internal corporate communications can seem overwhelming. Keep reading for a few suggestions on how to begin!
It’s likely that your employee handbook was written and reviewed by Human Resources and legal experts. Your translations should also be managed by an experts.
Your handbook is the guide that all your employees will use, regardless of what language they speak or which office they work in. You need an expert translation to be sure that the messages conveyed are exactly what you intended.
This is your opportunity to provide every employee with a direct guide to your company policies, culture, and to define individual roles. Without proper translation into the languages spoken by your employees, many of the nuances of your procedures could be lost.
Your business is likely operating in a consistent manner around the globe. When that is the case, some of your biggest health and safety concerns are similar as well. Regardless of language, dangerous situations should be identified and considered, and internal documents written around the production, processing, and/or other factors related to your product and operations should be clear to everyone.
If your business requires manual labor or to operate heavy machinery, it also requires translated safety documentation. Working with in-country legal professionals will ensure all your health and legal documents meet local regulatory requirements.
Are your safety manuals, signs, and emergency processes translated by professionals? If so, they will be clear, culturally specific, and relevant to that particular office location. If not, you run the risk of incredible liability for your business and risk for its employees.
Help your employees understand the way your business operates and avoid potential Human Resources conflicts and complaints that could be preempted with better communication.
It’s likely that internal management is privy to company information, especially concerning the financials of their own and other office locations. Translating financial documents ensures that all branches are working effectively with the same information and with the same goals in mind.
Perhaps a branch in Mexico is experiencing an excellent Q1, and the France office wants to replicate their results. Translating the financial documentation from Spanish to French will allow both branches to more easily share their tips for success.
It’s likely that your business utilizes an Intranet to internally communicate with employees and management in all of your offices. Even though a location might be across the ocean and in a different time zone, it doesn’t mean you can’t have all communications pass through a centralized network.
For your business to run successfully, your employees need the ability to communicate easily and without language barriers. Even though they may have a working knowledge of English, or whatever source language you use, their understanding of your message is usually enhanced and receptivity improved when it is presented in their native language.
Having professional translation experts customize the interface and content of your company’s Intranet will ensure that this communication can occur exactly as you intended.
Hiring Professionals for Your Business’ Corporate Communications
The internal corporate communication tools your business utilizes have a goal: to help employees understand the message, vision, and objectives of their role and the company as a whole. These tools can be used for educational purposes, but they also can be helpful with opening up communication between management and employees.
You’ll find that the more you work to unify your processes and include all of your employees, the stronger connection those employees will have with your business. The aim is to make your business efficient, safe, and a constructive work environment, all while helping employees feel appreciated, unified, and included.
The way your documents are currently written and designed is likely very culture-specific. It’s important to take not just the literal linguistic translation into account, but the cultural nuances as well, especially when considering potential multiple-language translation services.
Culture clashes can occur because of poor translation, and important internal corporate communications are not documents where you want to risk mistakes or misunderstandings.
Global organizations that function well keep all of their international locations in mind, including the potential cultural implications of each piece of internal corporate communication. Just as with external communications, corporate communication aimed at an internal employee population is most effective in their native language.
Help your business build a sense of community and equality by professionally translating and editing all your corporate communications.