Human Resources Translation

If your company is spread out through different countries across the globe, you are probably no stranger to translating documentation. Although any corporate document requires special care, human resources translation has specific hurdles and importance.

As multilingual teams become increasingly prevalent, companies have more opportunities for hiring qualified staff, given the growth of remote work. However, this also comes with its challenges.

In this article, we’ll cover what HR translation is, why you may need it, and the documents requiring translation. We’ll also detail the translation process and finish off with some frequently asked questions on this topic.

What is human resources translation?

HR translation is the translation of documents related to your company's human resources. These are primarily internal communications between management, company leaders, and employees. We’ll look at the specific documentation this covers in a later section.

Why do you need HR translation?

As we’ve mentioned, linguistically diverse teams are becoming exceedingly common. Your company may be based in a country where different languages are spoken or have branches and offices in several countries. You might also be hiring remote workers from all around the globe.

Translating your HR documents ensures that employees whose native languages are not English can access the information they need to do their job correctly and succeed in the workplace.

Here are the four main reasons you’ll need human resources translation:

  1. International recruitment

If your company has offices in different countries with different languages, translation will be vital to the recruitment process. You will need to translate your job postings into the relevant languages. Translation may also be necessary for you to get information from the candidates and, if you hire them, for the applicable contracts and immigration forms (if relevant).

  1. Improving communication

If your staff has different native languages, translation is the best way to overcome any language barrier. Documents such as employee records, payroll, workplace safety documentation, and training programs should be available in all the relevant languages. Moreover, emergency contact information or company-wide messages and emails should also be translated.

  1. Making documentation accessible

Internal documentation should be accessible to all your employees. This means policies and procedures, training documents, and position overviews should be translated. This will ensure everyone understands their rights and responsibilities within the company and help avoid misunderstandings.

  1. Complying with local regulations

Many countries have specific regulations regarding HR documentation. They may ask you to provide that documentation in the language of that country. It is crucial to check current regulations and follow the relevant human resources translation requirements.

What types of documents need translation?

There is a wide variety of HR documents that may require translation beyond the ones we mentioned in the previous section. The main categories are employee paperwork and training and safety materials. You’ll find a detailed list below.

  • Position overviews
  • Employee applications
  • Offer letters
  • Employee contracts
  • Organization charts
  • Company policies and procedures
  • Company guidelines
  • Employee manuals and handbooks
  • Training programs and videos
  • Benefits information
  • Insurance documents
  • Payroll
  • Employee records
  • Progress reviews and goals
  • Incident reports and disciplinary actions
  • Consent and agreement forms
  • Emergency contact information
  • Vacation and paid time off documents
  • Workplace safety documents
  • Company-wide emails and memos
  • Meeting notes
  • Exit documents

How to translate your HR documents

Now that you know why you should translate your HR documents and what these are, it’s time to focus on how to do it. We’ll cover this in four steps below.

  1. Find appropriate human resources translation services

You should look for a translator or company that is acquainted with your industry and human resources in general. They should have experience translating legal documents, such as employee contracts, as well as company policies and business documentation.

  1. Ask for a quote and delivery time

Once you’ve chosen a suitable translator or agency, you should contact them for a quote and delivery time. This may vary depending on various factors such as the length of the document/s, the format, the specific language combination, and if you need the human resource translation urgently.

  1. Submit an electronic copy of your documents

When submitting a copy of your documents, make sure you include your company’s contact information and the language of the original document (source language).

If you’ve been working with different languages for a while and have a translation glossary, you should also make this available to your translation provider. If you don’t, it might be something to consider. You can find more information about translation glossaries in this article.

  1. Receive your translation

Once the translation is complete, the translator or company will ensure it is reviewed for accuracy. You will then receive an electronic copy of the translated HR documents.

Human resources translation FAQs

How much does it cost to translate HR documents?

Your human resources translations will most likely be charged by the word. Prices per word usually range from $0.08 to $0.50.

RushTranslate offers translation services in over 65 languages starting at $0.10 per word for standard translations.

In some cases, like employee contracts, you might need a certified translation. In this case, the cost is usually calculated by page in the original document. One "page" is generally defined as 250 words and per-page prices vary from $20 to $130.

RushTranslate charges $24.95 per page for certified translation services. You can find more information about certified translations and when you need one in this article.

How long does it take to deliver an HR translation?

Just like with pricing, the time it will take to translate your HR documents depends on how many they are and their length. The type of document will also have an effect on this. Your translation service provider will let you know how long it will take and can provide an updated quote if you need your translation urgently.

Can I use Google Translate for HR documents?

Google translate or machine translation (the automatic translation of text from one language into another) has been a hot topic for quite a while. There has been incredible progress over the last few decades, with excellent results in some areas. However, this is generally not the best choice for human resources translation.

Google Translate is far from flawless, and its potential errors can prove disastrous when dealing with legal or sensitive documents. Human translation is the best—and safest—option for translating HR documents.

Will the format of my HR documents be the same?

Human resource translations usually follow the same format as the original unless you specify otherwise.

You should note that you might have to pay extra for editing if you submit a non-editable file format (like a PDF file or a scanned copy).

Which file types are acceptable for my HR documents?

Translators and translation companies are used to working with a variety of files. Editable files (such as Word or OpenOffice files) are best as they do not require editing before and after translating. However, non-editable files can also be translated but may incur extra charges due to the editing they entail.

Why do you need professional HR translation services?

Human resources documents may include sensitive information. Working with qualified translators ensures your translation is error-free, ensuring those reading your handbook in all languages are reading the same material. Therefore, all employees will be able to clearly understand their responsibilities, their work contracts, and inter-company messages, among other vital information.

Professional services also ensure your translation is carried out promptly, which saves you money in the long run. If you hire someone who offers a cheaper quote but lacks the relevant skills and experience, you may end up needing to retranslate your HR documents, which will be significantly more expensive.

Final thoughts

Human resources translations are key for any international business. They also require a qualified professional.

We hope this article has answered all your questions on this topic and helps you throughout the translation process.

Updated August 16, 2023 in Translation