With 37 million native Spanish speakers in the US, the importance of translation in the workplace is increasing. This is becoming a significant part of business for certain industries such as construction, where over a quarter of the workforce is Hispanic, with 10% being in managerial roles.
Neglecting translation can lead to a lack of morale, safety issues and potential legal proceedings.
Documents to translate into Spanish
When a business looks at translating material into Spanish there are certain key documents that should be at the top of the list.
When a new employee joins a company, an employee handbook is a valuable resource for them. It tells them about the company procedures and policies, and gives them a go-to reference for when they need information. By translating this into Spanish, you are ensuring Spanish-speaking members of staff have all the necessary information.
Safety Manuals and Signs around the Workplace
Safety has to be paramount in any workplace. If a large part of your staff speaks English as a second language, then translating safety manuals and signs will protect both them and you. From safety manuals for machinery to simple ‘mind the step’ signs, there are many aspects that should be considered.
Several years ago, there was a serious gas leak at Tyson Foods when a Spanish-speaking employee misunderstood a warning label on a container. This could have been avoided if the company had invested in translation.
OSHA and Healthcare Forms
Failing to translate forms used to record injury and illness can lead to mistakes being made. If an employee does not understand the form and completes it incorrectly, legal and ethical implications can arise. This can be costly for companies if it leads to compensation payouts. OSHA estimates that $1 billion is paid per week in workers’ compensation.
Only having an English version of tax forms can put Spanish speakers at a serious disadvantage. Filling in tax forms inaccurately due to misunderstanding can lead to them receiving less pay than they are entitled to, but could also result in accusations of tax fraud.
All Company Communication
Any business that has a significant proportion of Hispanics should look to translate all company communication, such as emails, memos and flyers. This will not only ensure that each and every employee is up-to-date with the content of this communication, but it will also make all employees feel included and valued.