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Translating Shared Services Communication Materials

Introduction

Many Shared Services organizations span multiple geographies, with a requirement for team members who speak multiple languages. In addition to supporting live conversations, internal communication materials for team members including periodic newsletters and reports to the Global Shared Service organization are often provided. For some companies, these materials may be published in one language only, and, for others, written team member communication materials will be provided in multiple languages. This research abstract looks the issue of companies translating Shared Services team member related communication materials, and specifically to what extent, and by what means.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent Peeriosity poll generated using the iPollingTM technology provides some interesting details around what Shared Services operations are doing in the area of communication material translation.  The first of two poll questions looked at whether Shared Services organizations translate team member related communications into more than one language.  Overall, 57% do translate materials into more than one language, with 19% doing so for all applicable languages and 38% to just certain languages.  The remaining companies have either not considered doing this (27%) or their employee base only speaks one language (16%).

The second poll question then addressed what the primary resource was for translating the team member related communications.  Reviewing the results from this poll question regarding resource utilization, 25% of companies rely solely upon internal resources for their translation capabilities, while 13% completely outsource this effort to an external provider.  However, the vast majority (62%) of companies utilize a combination of internal and external resources.

Some of the member comments regarding this poll include the following:

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: We primarily use TransPerfect and then have internal local market resources validate.

Manufacturing Member: For Europe we have outsourced some functions that provide local language support. In LATAM / APAC we use local language almost extensively.

Travel, Recreation, and Leisure Member: Our Corporate Learning and Development Department sends out translations if needed. Mostly only EU French and French Canadian, Italian, German, EU Spanish and Dutch. As well as smaller communications will be translated in country by leader to send out to their teams as needed.

Manufacturing Member: Our Shared Service locations are in North America and the UK, so only the English language is required at this time.

Retail Member: Translations as needed are completed by the individual markets.

Closing Summary

With an expansive scope of operations being more and more prevalent as Shared Services organizations continue to evolve and mature, regardless of whether the basic operating structure is global or regional, the need to ensure that Shared Services team members are effectively communicated with should be a top priority.  While the translation of communication materials to all applicable languages may add some complexity to the internal communications process, in the long run it may very well be worth the effort.

What is the status at your company with respect to translating employee communications into all applicable languages?  Is it time to review your approach in this important area?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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