Why Every Company Should Translate Their Employee Manual into Spanish

 Why Every Company Should Translate Their Employee Manual into Spanish

Absent an accurate translation of the Employee Handbook, Latino or Hispanic American employees of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) cannot understand your company’s culture and policies, which will undoubtedly result in misunderstandings and lawsuits.

Google Translate and other machine translations are not reliable mechanisms for translating Employee Manuals or other essential workplace documents.  Frequently, online translations convey an entirely different meaning than what the original document writer wanted to relate.   In addition, translation errors can create a considerable negative impact on your brand’s identity or might become the reason for the potential litigation and loss in revenue.  Free online translations can end up costing your company more in the long run than it would if you would hire a professional and insured translator.

You might be thinking, why is it even necessary to translate the employee handbook into Spanish. Take a look at these facts, which emphasize the dire need for Spanish translation!

  • Spanish is the second most common language spoken in the U.S. Approximately 41.76 million people spoke Spanish at home in 2019.
  • The Hispanic market has achieved over a billion dollars in purchasing power. The number is rising rapidly as Spanish speakers migrate to the U.S. for education, business, and employment.

Given the landscape, it is crucial to offer Spanish-translated business documents to Hispanic/Latino workers in a manner in which Hispanic/Latino employees can completely understand the company culture and its policies.

Language barriers can considerably affect the morale and productivity of employees.  Any company that hires Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons should have their policies, SOP’s, and training manuals translated into Spanish or other native languages of their employees. 

Spanish Language for U.S. Employers

Spanish speakers are the second-largest population in the U.S., totaling 54 million out of 328 million (total population). The overall Latino population will see an increase of up to 60 million by the year 2060.

Forward-thinking business owners, managers, and Human Resource Departments can’t afford to leave essential manuals and policies untranslated. How do you know whether something must be translated or not?  It’s pretty simple; if it was worth putting it on paper in English, it must have an accurate and professional translation into Spanish for your LEP employees.

Significance of Translating Employee Manual and other Materials.

Whether you have one or one hundred LEP employees, you need updated, accurate, and professionally prepared translations. Remember, the employee manual offers you the best opportunity to communicate the employee expectations and company policies and help you safeguard from unnecessary liabilities.

Translated Employee Handbooks or Manuals provide an understanding of your company to all newcomers, regardless of English Proficiency.

The employee manual introduces your company to your employees and establishes recruits’ information about your business. Your employee handbook and the necessary translations will help all employees follow the same track from the very first day. Employees who clearly understand workplace expectations will be better prepared to work effectively as a team despite any language barriers. Also, they will have an improved understanding of everything about the company and what they are trying to accomplish.

Reduce Harassment and Violence Complaints

Employee Manuals usually include Anti-harassment policies. Informing your employees about the reporting and prevention of harassment issues is crucial to all businesses and organizations. By securing a professional translator to translate your policies, you ensure that all employees understand your company policies. Accurate and professionally translated manuals, handbooks, and policies add an extra layer of protection for your company.

Successful Employee Orientation and Onboarding

Employee orientation and onboarding is the initial touchpoint of an organization for new employees. It communicates important information about its culture, standards, expectations, purpose, and much more.

Many hard-working, qualified, and valued employees have Limited English Proficiency (LEP).  When organizations employ these individuals, they can no longer offer orientations and onboarding in English only.  Presenting such important information in English only obstructs the employees’ comprehension. As a result, it negatively impacts the company’s liability and doesn’t encourage a culture of diversity and inclusiveness within the workplace.

Emergency Management Policies

Undoubtedly you want the best business translation services for your emergency management policies and the responses to unforeseen situations like fires, inclement weather, or even workplace violence. With the help of professional translation services, a company can ensure that its Spanish-speaking employees are ready for uncertain or unpredictable conditions.

Keeping Your Reputation and Employees Safe

If you use the certified translators to translate the employee manual, your company will adequately convey the vital information that causes fewer incidents. Employee manuals must have detailed safety rules and regulations of the workplace, and it’s notably essential they are entirely accurate and kept up to date.

Pro-tip: Hire a professional Spanish translator who would inform your employees about the current safety information consciously and clearly.

General Tips for Employee Handbook Translations

Take a look at a few tips you should consider before translating the employee handbook into Spanish:

  • Use the Spanish language skillfully because direct information and instructions with the appropriate accent and pictures will effectively improve the employee’s handbook/manual.
  • Offer channel/means in the employee manual by which employees can complain about discrimination and harassment effectively.
  • Take into consideration the state laws while creating employee manuals. Many U.S. states require companies to publish the employee manual in their native language if they cannot read it in the national language.
  • Do not use the premade employee manual templates because these templates do more harm than good. Customization is the key!
  • Ensure your employee manual is part of your employee’s routine to prevent it from being disregarded.
  • If your employee manual is representative of your rules and regulations, make sure you provide easy access to it via printed and online resources

The Future of Spanish Language in America

By 2050, the U.S. will have around 138 million Spanish speakers, stated by U.S. Census Bureau.

The Spanish language ranks as the second most used language in the United States. Due to the Hispanic/Latino population growth, the need for resources in the Spanish language will only grow in the coming years.  From job adverts to company policies, accurate and professional translations can easily enhance the culture of teamwork inclusive of diversity. 

Dawn Perez Maldonado, Certified Spanish Interpreter
Owner and Director of Bylyngo Interpreting and Translation

Dawn was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and was the first person in her family born in the US Mainland. Growing up in a Latino home, Spanish was her first language.  She is a Court Certified Spanish interpreter who has provided government and corporate interpreting services throughout Wisconsin, nationally and internationally for more than 20 years. Dawn is an avid reader, a lifelong student of History and Culture, and a Cryptocurrency enthusiast.  Both directly and through her agency, Dawn has provided countless free interpreting and translation services to the immigrant LEP community. She is an empowered Latina who devotes herself to family, hard work, community, and faith.

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Meet Veteran Spanish Interpreter: Dawn Maldonado

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI in a Spanish-speaking home. My parents, who came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico in 1968, insisted we speak Spanish only in the home in an effort to ensure we retain our family’s language and culture. It took my parents several years to learn English and even longer to feel comfortable speaking it. Because of their limited English, I usually served as their interpreter in many different settings such as medical appointments, school visits, and almost every situation where they needed to communicate in English.

While growing up, I studied in Puerto Rico when our family relocated there for several years. Upon returning to Wisconsin, I continued my education and studied history at Lakeland College.

Despite serving as an interpreter from a very young age, I never gave the profession much thought until 2001 when I became aware of the growing need for court interpreters. I applied and was hired to work as a freelancer in the Milwaukee County courts. Shortly thereafter, I became certified as a Spanish interpreter in 2004 when certification testing started being offered. I have been providing services to courts throughout the state since then, but primarily in Milwaukee County.

*Republished from the Wisconsin Court Interpreter Program (CIP) Newletter

https://www.wicourts.gov/services/interpreter/docs/newsfall12.pdf

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