How Professional Translation Protects Your Business from Legal Pitfalls

How Professional Translation Protects Your Business from Legal Pitfalls 

In today’s globalized world, businesses often encounter diverse workforces with employees who speak different languages. To maintain a safe and inclusive workplace, it’s crucial for companies to ensure that their safety materials are accessible to all employees. This means translating safety documents into their native languages. Even if your team has operated effectively with materials in English, offering translations can significantly enhance the message’s effectiveness and protect your business from potential legal pitfalls. 

Let’s examine a few considerations to keep top of mind when you start to translate safety documents.  

Understanding Legal Requirements 

Federal laws in the United States mandate the translation of “vital documents” into an audience’s native language. These laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 13166, aim to prevent national origin discrimination and language-based disparities. The Department of Justice further defines a document as vital if it contains information critical for obtaining federal services or benefits or if it is required by law. This encompasses various forms, policies, informational materials, and outreach content

It’s important to recognize that someone’s residency in a foreign country doesn’t guarantee complete comprehension of technical or complex information presented in that language. By ensuring all vital documents are available in a language they fully understand, businesses can guarantee equal access to information, prevent language barriers, and avoid potential fines for non-compliance with federal law. Moreover, providing access to translated materials fosters an inclusive environment and protects businesses from discrimination lawsuits. 

Determining What to Translate 

Deciding which safety documents to translate can be tailored to each business’s specific needs. Companies should start by identifying key operational pain points and the crucial safety information that workers must comprehend. Consider the tasks employees perform and the risks and hazards associated with their roles. Including visual aids like flow charts, diagrams, illustrations, equipment photos, and maps can enhance the clarity and comprehension of procedures, especially emergency protocols. 

Translating all safety procedures, employee guidelines, and corporate policies into employees’ native languages contributes to the company’s reputation for prioritizing safety and inclusivity. By demonstrating care and consideration for employees’ needs, businesses build trust and foster a positive work environment. 

The Benefits of Translation 

Investing in professional translation for safety manuals yields numerous benefits. First and foremost, it helps prevent accidents and injuries, safeguarding employees’ well-being. When employees fully understand safety protocols and proper equipment usage, the likelihood of mishaps decreases significantly. 

Moreover, translating safety materials protects businesses from potential lawsuits and fines resulting from non-compliance with federal laws. By taking proactive steps to offer equal accessibility to all employees, companies shield themselves from discrimination claims and ensure their policies are fair and inclusive. 

In this globalized era, embracing professional translation is not just a legal requirement but also a strategic move that bolsters the long-term success and sustainability of any business. 

Why Translating Safety Documentation is a Great Investment

Why Translating Safety Documentation is a Great Investment

In the construction and manufacturing industries, the presence of native Spanish-speaking workers has been steadily increasing in the United States. It is essential for companies that value their diverse workforce to ensure that all employees fully understand safety procedures and regulations to prevent accidents. One effective solution to bridge the language barrier and promote workplace safety is by translating safety documents. 

In this blog post we’ll explore valuable insight to guide you through this process. 

What do we mean by safety documents?

Safety documents encompass various materials that prioritize the safety and well-being of employees while ensuring compliance with corporate policies and national safety standards. These documents play a vital role in communicating essential information and procedures to create a safe and productive work environment. Some examples of safety documents include health and safety policies, personal protective equipment policies, general warning labels, machinery safety manuals, emergency procedures, and incident/accident report forms.

Which documents should you translate first?

Before embarking on the translation process, it is crucial to identify the most critical safety documents for your employees’ well-being. Assessing the areas where language barriers might hinder understanding is key. For instance, if certain machinery or material handling processes frequently lead to incidents, prioritizing the translation of related manuals and warnings can significantly enhance the efficacy of safety measures. 

Who should work on the translations?

When the need for translation arises, it may be tempting to resort to bilingual employees. However, relying solely on their language skills is not a great idea, as they may lack the expertise required for precise translation. It is highly recommended to collaborate with seasoned translators who possess expertise in both language translation and health and safety protocols. 

Professional linguists, whether freelancers or language services providers, understand the importance of industry-specific terminology and consistent language usage. They undergo academic and professional training to convey information clearly and correctly, taking into account cultural nuances and your company’s tone. By working with these experts, you can ensure that your translations maintain the highest standards of quality

In addition, involving your employees in reviewing the already translated documents is crucial, as they can offer valuable insights and help identify any potential terminology discrepancies. This collaborative effort ensures that the translations align with your organization’s goals and values. 

For future translation needs, if translating materials at different times, it is preferable to have all translations completed by the same translator or translation team to maintain consistency. Otherwise, subsequent linguists should meticulously review previously translated content while utilizing style guides and term bases, if available. This approach ensures that the translations remain cohesive and adhere to established standards. 

The Takeaway

Investing in the translation of safety documentation is a crucial step toward ensuring the well-being of your diverse workforce. By identifying and translating the most important documents, you can bridge the language gap and enable effective communication of essential safety procedures. Collaborating with professional linguists who understand both language and health and safety protocols will yield accurate translations and maintain consistency across materials.  

Translated safety documents empower your employees, reduce the risk of accidents and potential lawsuits, minimize equipment damages, and safeguard your company’s reputation in the industry. Remember, your translation partner will guide you through the process, ensuring a smooth and successful journey toward enhanced workplace safety and productivity. 

Are You Complying With This OSHA Requirement

Are you complying with this OSHA requirement?

Our society is always evolving and the workplace is no exception. The Hispanic presence in the US workforce is growing, and as of 2018 this group made up 17.5% of the US labor force, with that number being anticipated to grow in the following years. Hispanic workers are present across all industries ranging from construction (34.3%), to finance (22.9%), to manufacturing (21.3%). Their contribution to the US workforce is undeniable. Which is why OSHA standards are so important for employers to follow. There is one requirement in particular that can help protect our Hispanic workforce and any other employees who are not native English speakers.

What is OSHA?

First things first. You may be wondering what exactly OSHA is. OSHA, aka the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, works to create important rules and regulations that businesses have to follow to remain in compliance with proper safety protocols. If they fail to follow them, dangerous accidents can occur as well as large fines and penalties.  

OSHA sets and enforces standards through training and education that touches a variety of industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, and even maritime. Employers are responsible for ensuring that all of their workers are aware of OSHA requirements and they must train them properly on the best safety practices.

A Key Requirement

One important OSHA requirement that employers must adhere to is making sure that their workers receive imperative information and training regarding safety measures, workplace hazards, how to prevent accidents and any OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. An even more important requirement is that employers must provide that information and training to their employees in a language and vocabulary that the worker can understand clearly and absolutely

For workplaces that have any Hispanic employees, translating e-learning materials into Spanish may be absolutely necessary to stay in compliance with OSHA.

How to Meet OSHA Language Requirements

Given the pandemic and many workplaces operating remotely or keeping their employees separated while on the job, online training can be an extremely effective and safe way to deploy employee training. E-learning can help boost engagement, give employees the flexibility to take training when and where is convenient for them, and it can be an enjoyable way to learn. 

Another benefit of online training is that they are easy to adapt to other languages for employers that have a diverse staff. The localization of e-learning materials takes not only language differences into account, but cultural differences as well. To help employers meet their training obligations, OSHA has a web-based assistance tool that can aid employers with a Spanish-speaking workforce in identifying the Spanish-language outreach resources on OSHA’s website. By providing training for employees in their native language, employers can make sure workers completely understand the instructions and rules that must be followed. This will create a safer work environment for everybody.