The Importance of Translation in Employee Communication

Ensure your employees get critical messages! Learn why translating internal communications boosts engagement, prevents costly errors, and supports a diverse workforce.

Companies see the importance of translating for marketing, sales, and customer service but often overlook translation when it comes to internal communication. Communicating with employees, and making sure they understand your message, so essential that lack of communication on the workplace has become the #1 reason that people quit. Deskless employees are out in the field, in a factory, doing construction, so they're especially vulnerable to this risk, as are non-English speaking employees.

If you have an important message regarding their job, it better get across. You don’t want your employees ending up at the wrong site or showing up for the wrong shift, costing your company thousands of dollars on delayed projects.

Ask Employees About Their Language Preference, and Honor It

We live in a globalized world where employees speak many different languages. It’s not uncommon to work with someone whose first language isn’t English. And if language isn’t universal, our communication shouldn’t be either.

We recommend sending out a survey to all of your current employees to ask if anyone would prefer to communicate in a different language. If they do, it’s time to start translating your messages into multiple languages. (For future new employees, it’s a good idea to collect their language preferences during the onboarding process.)

After you've figured out your employees’ preferred languages, you can create an organized sheet for yourself to reference when creating communications, or you may be able to assign an employee language preference in your HR software. Using either solution typically involves a manual check for the employee's preference by the person creating the message.

And since manual processes are unreliable, Team Engine allows you to enter each employee’s language preference into their record in the system, so you'll receive an automatic reminder when someone wants a message in another language. You don’t have to keep track. Even better, you can translate message in and out of foreign languages directly within the software!

If you're not bilingual, there are plenty of free translation services like SpanishDict for English-Spanish translation and Google Translate for practically every language. If you’re willing to pay a bit, iTranslate hooks up to your phone keyboard and translate your texts as you type them out. Online translators aren’t always perfect, but getting 80% of the message across is better than 0%.

Don’t Let Critical Information Go Unnoticed

When you need to get a message across to blue-collar workers, it's often time-sensitive information, such as a traffic backup, a location change, a deadline was moved up, or something similar. When getting these messages across, there is no room for error; you can’t have a construction worker show up to the wrong site or a production worker coming in for the wrong shift. Sending text messages to employees is good, but sending them in the right language is even better.

Translating employee messages is not only beneficial for communication effectiveness, but also for making all of your employees feel welcome, heard, and respected. At Team Engine, our goal is to help you build better teams. That is why we offer multi-language message support and employee surveys to collect any information that you need.

For more ideas on how to keep your non-English speaking employees engaged in the workplace, read our article on the five things businesses must understand about Latinx culture.

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