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Employee Handbook Translation: Why It Is a Must?

Before we delve into the concept of employee handbook translation, let’s briefly discuss what an employee handbook is.

Meaning of Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a body of policies and protocols regarding a particular organization. It’s usually given to employees as part of the onboarding process. It comes with guidelines, key performance metrics, and benefits for the employees. According to this source, the employee handbook also states an employee’s rights and legal obligations.

Typically, your employee handbook contains three different content sections. They include:

  • Cultural (company’s values, mission, story, and welcome statement)
  • General information (health and safety, incident reporting, health care, incentives, policy summaries, etc.
  • Case-Specific (rules, employment regulations or laws, company policies, and disciplinary procedures).

Importance of Employee Handbook Translation

1. It Puts All Employees on the Same Standing

Employee handbook translation applies to organizations located in a linguistically diverse country or an organization with several branches across the globe. Employee handbook translation ensures all staff members are on the same page from day one. As a result, all employees will receive the same information from the organization, resulting in improved productivity and safety.

With this translation service, your employees will know precisely what they are expected to do. This will also help them be better prepared to function as a team irrespective of the linguistic barriers present. This translation service will also help your employees better understand the common goal.

Despite its immense benefits, giving out employee handbooks to a diverse workforce in their respective languages can be tricky. Every industry has its jargon, and you will need to pay special attention to that during the process of translation. This is crucial because your Spanish-speaking staff should receive the exact information your English-speaking staff is receiving from the employee handbook.

Translation experts stated that the most in-demand languages for employee handbook translation are Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin).

2. Proper Staff Orientation

This is one of the first things an organization does for its staff. Staff orientation dictates the tone of the organizational culture. It also communicates relevant information to your staff about their expectations, welfare, and incentives.

If you have a linguistically diverse workforce, an orientation done in a single language will leave a lot of them blank, and they will end up becoming liabilities to the company. However, an orientation that incorporates the respective languages of your employees will foster unity in, diversity, and inclusiveness in your organization.

3. It Safeguards the Organisation and its Employees

As we stated earlier, employee handbooks contain safety policies that are relevant to the organization. Such information should be very precise and up-to-date. We recommend hiring a professional translation service to translate these handbooks into target languages. This will help convey the message of safety to your linguistically diverse staff and will result in fewer accidents.

Hire a translator that’s very familiar with your industry and can use that experience to convey the safety information concisely. Companies vary, whether it’s producing chemicals, rendering investment services, manufacturing agricultural food, etc.

Going for a translator with considerable expertise in your industry instead of a translator without it can be the gap between a safe working environment and a workplace accident.

Furthermore, it helps you avoid translation errors which are commonplace during technical writing. So we recommend you avoid using free translation tools. Though they may save you money, mistakes they will make can trigger litigation in some instances.

4. Legality

Although employee handbook translation is mandatory, it’s sometimes required by law. For instance, Californian law demands that an organization translates the following policies if at least 10% of its employees don’t speak English:

  • Anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and anti-retaliation policies. This will include procedures for investigation and complaints.
  • Medical or family leave (applies to organizations with at least 50 employees)
  • Accommodation for pregnant staff members, pregnancy disability transfer, or leave.

Generally, there has been an increasing demand for compulsory translations of employee handbooks.