translation in the HR industry

Translating and localizing Human Resource (HR) content is a challenging task for any company with a global workforce. Quite often the HR policy contains specific legal settings and jargon that are different in the different countries and quite often have no analogue. Therefore, you need translators who are experts on the subject matter and can provide you with the best service. 

In addition to that there are other challenges that the company needs to take into account when considering translation and localization of its HR documentation. Choosing the right translators, planning the process and budgeting the costs are some of the issues that need to be solved.  

HR Jargon and In-Country Expertise

There are differences in employment laws around the world, which means that you have to develop your HR strategy very carefully. Naturally, it will contain the elements of the country of your head office, where most of your employees are located. However, if you want the HR program to be applicable to and understood by the foreign offices, you need it properly translated and localized. To this end, you have to hire translators, who are not only experts in document translation but have specialized in the sphere of HR and know the common pitfalls.  

In order to keep your HR documentation and policy accurate you need linguists who are familiar with the employment laws and policies in the foreign countries, where your company has offices. The translators should not only know the HR-specific terms and jargon but be aware of their counterpart in the given language and how this can be presented to the target audience. If you are based in the USA, most likely your HR strategy includes details about the specific in-country 401K retirement plan. This won’t be valid in a European country though and here the expertise of your language service provider can help you.  

In some cases, there are also requirements about the official language of the documentation. In bilingual countries, such as Canada, for example, some provinces request English as the language of all company documents and polices, while others insist on French. If you are working with an experienced language service provider with in-country expertise, you will receive invaluable advice along with the proper translation of your texts. 

Common Challenges

As any type of translation and localization of company documents, the HR policy translation also faces several challenges. Here are three of the most common ones: 

  • Planning the translation process 

It is very important to plan the translation process carefully. Make sure to prepare the entire documentation in your mother language first and then submit the final version for translation. Having the whole package of documents ready to be sent for translation will make the process easier and quicker than sending bits and pieces and revising texts on the go. Make sure to have a preliminary meeting with the provider you have chosen where you can discuss all the issues related to the translation. Appoint one person who will be in charge of the process and who will communicate with the vendor and provide additional information or answer questions if any. Keep your communication channels open in order to facilitate the overall process.  

  • Choosing the right translators 

One of the first choices to make is whether to use freelance translators or a translation company for the project. There are many pros and cons with both strategies and your company needs to decide which is the most appropriate for them. If you are planning translation of your HR police to more than one language, it is better to use a company that can provide all the translations as this will make the entire process go smoother. In any case, it is advisable to work with the same translator and/or company for the entire documentation so that you can have a consistent translation. It is also advisable to choose translators who are experts in HR matters and who will be able to help you both with the translation and localization of the materials and give you useful tips and advice. 

  • Budgeting the costs 

When it comes to the translation of any document, one of the first questions asked is how much will it cost? You need to understand the translation cost basics and be prepared to pay the price. You should be ready to pay a higher price for a quality translation so that you can avoid any misunderstandings or even problems in the future. Do not be tempted to use your employees from the foreign offices to do the translation in order to save on costs. The mere fact that someone speaks the language does not mean that they can use it for professional translations. It is possible that you will be left with a text, that needs to be reworked. This might cost you even more – first you will need to pay your employees for the extra work and then once again pay the translators for doing the job right. 

As a whole the translation of HR documentation poses similar challenges as the translation of other legal texts. If you choose translators who have experience in the sphere and stick to the above-given tips, you will end up with a final product that meets your needs and requirements.

Share This