How Translation Can Create an Inclusive Workplace in the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic

By 17th April 2020 May 12th, 2020 Communication Skills Tips

Creating an Inclusive Workplace Through Translation

An inclusive workplace can run more effectively. This is because every employee feels valued. COVID-19 has caused countries around the world to go into lockdown. This means that operating efficiently is more important than ever. But how do you create an inclusive workplace when your workers speak multiple languages? Read on for tips on how to do this.

Translation and Globalisation

In the UK, EEA nationals make up about a third of the food and drink supply chain workforce. Some of these workers speak better English than others. The sector embraces the multilingual definition. Many employers have staff who speak different languages. They need to factor this into their business plans.

In workplaces where English proficiency levels are low, access to a professional translator or translators can boost inclusivity. Using professional translation services can also help employers to deliver effective workplace communication.

The new coronavirus has spread rapidly around the world. Effective company communication is thus more important. 203 countries (at the time of writing) are affected. It has disrupted daily life hugely. It has also closed millions of businesses.

In locked down countries, many shops have shut. Some of them have shut for good. Other companies are changing to remote working. This can be a challenge to inclusivity!

Localisation Definition: What Is Localisation?

In a moment we will look at how you can create an inclusive workplace. First, let’s be clear on some meanings.

What are translation and localisation services? Professional translation services change the text from one language to another. What are localisation services? Localisation services deliver the meaning of the translation, as well as the copy. They include changing images, logos and colours, updating time and date formats and much more.

Country flag printed on a keyboard button

They include changing images, logos and colours, updating time and date formats and much more.

Localisation aims to set audiences. It is a part of the wider concept of globalisation. Localisation accounts for cultural nuances. Workplace localisation makes sure that materials suit those reading them. This minimises the chance of miscommunication to multicultural/multilingual staff. Without localisation services, people from different cultures can read different meanings into translated documents.

Tips for Using Translation to Create an Inclusive Workplace

To use professional translation services to create an inclusive workplace, start with internal communications. Map the native languages of your employees. Then find the best professional translation services. Hire a language translator for each language.

Look for sector-specific experience in your translators. This should be in addition to their language skills. Say you run a grocery business where some of your staff speak Spanish. Don’t just look for those who translate English to Spanish. Look for translators who have retail sector experience. Their expertise can help them understand your business. This means they can translate to Spanish better.

You know your language needs and have found a translation company. Great. Next, list the items you want to translate. Put them in priority order. Start with internal communications. These include memos, training guides, email updates, newsletters and manuals. Giving the same message to all of your workforce is key to inclusivity. It can also help you to maximise your operational efficiency.

Think about video translation too. People learn in different ways. Giving info to them in several ways can help them understand. The beauty of video is that you only create the content once. You can then use it again and again. It’s also easy to deliver in many languages. A decent video translation expert can quickly transcribe and translate a video. You can then use it to ensure that all employees receive the same information and training.

Grocery Retailing

Statista shows that the market value of grocery retail in the UK stood at £70.8 billion in 2019 for superstores and hypermarkets. The value of convenience stores was £49 billion. Small supermarkets, discounters and online grocery shopping stood at £35.7 billion, £21.4 billion and £16.9 billion.

People shopping for fruits in a grocery store

Grocery Retailing

This huge market is the reason that professional translation services are so important. Mistranslations can hurt a company. They can mean staff don’t have clear guidelines. This makes it hard for the staff to do their jobs well. As such, avoid machine translation at all costs! It’s fast and cheap, but the translations are far worse than those from human translators. Machine translation can give instant document translations. That’s not the same as professional translation services for documents.

Who Needs Professional Translation Services?

Employers with staff who don’t speak English natively may need professional translation services. This will depend on the staff’s speaking level. In businesses that involve food prep, sticking to regulations is key. It ensures that the company delivers products that are safe to eat. Companies need to explain clearly to workers what their roles are. They also need to explain the workers’ responsibilities. Translation can help to do this.

Translation can help ease communication. It must be used with other workplace inclusion practices. Translation cannot make up for a lack of cultural understanding or empathy. Nor a lack of appropriately sensitive leadership.

The translator definition relates to language. However, a company needs to value all employees if it is to achieve maximum efficiency through having an inclusive workplace.

Companies can improve their productivity in many ways. One is to help staff with low English skills to perform at their best. This can also enhance their customer service and boost their performance.


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Paul Fernandez

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