As work resumes in the COVID-19 pandemic environment, employers must provide clear, actionable training materials to ensure workers can meet new health and safety demands. These include:
- Physical reorganization and procedures to increase social distancing,
- New facility cleaning procedures and schedules,
- Health and safety resources available to workers,
- Clear explanations of sick leave procedures and requirements.
A multilingual workforce presents additional challenges to clear communication. For many employers, translating changes in workplace policies is a must. Providing health and safety information in your employees’ mother tongues conveys empathy and increases understanding and compliance.
When you source translation services, following best practices reduces costs and turnaround time. Regardless of your communication platform, whether posters in your facilities, emails, videos, or e-learning, your project will go more smoothly if you keep these points in mind.
Take culture into account
Personal issues pertaining to health are especially subject to localization pitfalls. If your content includes anything confusing, offensive, or unintentionally hilarious to your multilingual audiences, you want to know before production starts. Taking the time to pause and consider how your message will resonate will increase the chances of successful outcomes. Ask your employee representatives from the target culture to review the concept and storyboard or work with a language partner that will address cultural differences before launching the project.
In addition, your corporate organization’s safety guidelines may diverge from official regulations in the country where your workers are located. This is probably obvious to those tasked with setting policy, but our point here is that you should address and resolve these local differences *before* starting the translation process.
If your communications team is creating new content for translation from English to a Romance language like Spanish, French, Italian, or Portuguese, tell them to leave lots of white space. These languages expand when translated; a Spanish translation can be up to 30% longer than the source. Text expansion will impact the design and run-time of any multimedia localized content.
Secure access to native files
Put your localization partner in touch with the team who designed the flyer, produced the video, built the app, or developed the e-learning modules. These people can provide the native design files as the building blocks of the translation project. Translators use software for translation management and quality assurance, and these tools are compatible with many file formats. Even if they aren’t compatible, localization engineers aim to extract translatable text and re-import it directly to the authoring platform.
These are just a few of the best practices for sourcing translation services. For more details on best practices for specific communication media, see our posts on desktop publishing, video production, and e-learning and software localization.
Everyone learns best in their own language. It’s especially important to translate communications when compliance is essential. In addition, translating critical content demonstrates that your organization is committed to safeguarding all employees. During a health crisis, providing accurate and compelling information can make the difference between life and death.