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Does my organization need HR Translations?

Sep 15, 2022

Anytime an organization grows to an international footprint, it presents logistical challenges – the most fundamental being communicating across borders. Human resource teams are responsible for sending out internal communications like new employee orientations, training and certification programs, emails, handbooks, and so much more. But does your organization need HR translations?

Communicating with your global workforce is crucial to engage and motivating employees. If you are a multinational company with a worldwide workforce, translating HR documents like employee handbooks and codes of conduct seems like a must. You may be asking yourself, where are we required to translate HR communications and where would issuing an untranslated English version be illegal? Or you could wonder how to ensure all your employees, franchisees, and third-party vendors fully understand your company’s policies and procedures and if HR translations are required.

In a rush to push out employee communications, multinationals may assume that their worldwide workforce all speaks English – but the multinational may want to take the position that it does not have to translate internal communications for employees overseas.

Issuing employee-facing communications in different languages, and pushing out English-only employee communications to workforces in non-English-speaking countries, raises some surprisingly complex legal issues. In some countries, English-only communications can be a legal problem if national language laws or mandates exist. In France, for example, the national labor code punishes employers with heavy fines if they issue certain HR communications in languages other than French.

There are advantages to English only and disadvantages as well. Every organization has a different approach to transmitting global communications. There are English-only work rules that must be considered along with Umbrella compliance. Workplace language laws and translation mandates come with flat prohibitions, voiding rules, submission mandates, fraud, duress, and hostile reception for local proceedings—all of which are discussed in our newly updated Global HR Communication Guide.

For your organization to become a robust, well-integrated global machine, it’s essential to consider the laws and best practices associated with global communications. This can directly impact your team’s creativity, effectiveness and engagement.

Providing accurate translations of HR communications is difficult enough without the additional burden of keeping track of the ever-changing global legal landscape. That’s where an experienced language solutions provider (LSP) can step in to help. An LSP can ensure that you comply with worldwide language laws while skillfully localizing global corporate communications to achieve a cohesive and successful international business network.

Be on the lookout for Morningside’s updated guide by Donald C. Dowling, Shareholder at the Littler law firm, “How to Communicate with Your Global Workforce Laws & Best Practices,” revised to 2022 standards explaining the various types of “workplace language laws” worldwide and offering compliance approaches and strategies. The discussion also provides some points regarding the human resources, diversity, inclusion and ESG issues inherent in international workplace communications.

Keeping a diverse workforce engaged is no easy task, especially if you are operating in multiple global locations. Translating internal communication is critical to this effort – but it has to be done right.


About Morningside

At Morningside, we offer a full suite of translation services in over 200 languages and dialects. Our global network of 8,000+ translators (including in-country linguists) is an expert in various technical fields and subject areas. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you save time and money with your business translation needs.

Morningside equips the world’s leading corporations with a full suite of end-to-end translation and localization solutions for their corporate compliance needs. Our language services ensure your ideas and policies are seamlessly communicated to your employees, partners, and customers and meet all local and cultural requirements.

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