On improving internal corporate communication with translation

  • Greater than 2 minutes, my friend!

    After talking about how translators can support external corporate communication (here), let’s see now how they can lend a hand with internal communication.

    As a specialist in corporate communication, I often work on internal communication contents of multinational companies. The kind of contents are quite varied, from internal memos to training manuals, from e-learning materials to videos, from management speeches to safety standards, just to name a few. And the sources are as well: they can come from the CEO’s office or the quality department, from an external company handling the training modules or from HR.

    The translator working on the adaptation of these materials for the company offices and staff located abroad is at the centre of all this communication flow and hence in a unique position: on the one hand to catch inconsistencies in terminology, brand approach, degree of employees’ engagement etc., and on the other to build a coherent communication strategy in the local language.

    Translation is a great help to communications within a corporate environment. Companies which translate and adapt internal documents into the local language of their foreign offices are rewarded by an improvement of the communication flow at all company levels, as well as by a better interiorization of corporate/brand pillars, values, vision and mission.

    Choose a translator who’s the right fit for your company, or train one to become such, and you will have a 360° language and communication consultant at your disposal, who will be able to solve many of your problems. What can translators do for you then? Let’s see a few examples:

    •  They can advise you on issues relating to training and health & safety materials: local health and safety regulations may differ, and the approach to training may vary as well. Translators can advise on this, as they are also cultural mediators and in-country consultants, helping you prevent or solve problems.
    •  They can advise you on best practices aimed at improving your communication – of written documents, video contents, speeches etc. Even by suggesting practical tips. An example? Writing out acronyms: the rule, here and in general, is never assume comprehension, as it is not so obvious that acronyms regularly used within one company department are known to others. Always uphold clarity, and never give anything for granted.
    •  They can create and maintain a terminology database, to improve linguistic consistency within each language and meaning consistency among all languages.
    •  They can help you streamline your brand internally to better communicate it externally: for instance, by adapting your brand and language to the local culture and standards, by identifying brand words/pillars, by honing the company’s tone of voice.

    An accomplished, experienced translator is a precious resource for your company’s communication. Translators are language experts, but they are also much more than that today: they are terminologists, problem solvers, cultural and in-country advisers, communication enhancers, brand consultants – all rolled into one.

    Think of what a communication flop can cost you, in terms of money, lost time and missed opportunities, not to talk of engagement, and consider translation, which can go a long way to improving corporate communication, both inside and outside your company.

    About the author
    Laura Cattaneo

    About Laura Cattaneo

    Italian communication expert. Translation, transcreation, editing, content writing. Marketing, creative, legal.

    6 thoughts on “On improving internal corporate communication with translation

    1. Hi Laura, very interesting post. Your suggestion of translator as a key partner in improving internal corporate communication and responsible for a consistent terminological framework is powerful! Thank you!

    2. Grazie Silvia. That’s what I do with some companies, and the results are there to see for everyone, but the number is still low. We should spread the word and help companies understand our added value as trusted language partners.

    3. I´d like to add the role as “cultural mediators”, which I found myself doing very often in issues relating internal communication between our offices in Europe and Asia. In meetings that I took part in, I could immediately detect that there were barriers in the communication, not resulting from language barriers (everyone could speak the common corporate language), but because there were sometimes cultural implications that some of the participants were not really understanding to the point of even resulting in conflicts. Conflicts that most of the time could be solved by just understanding the gap in communication.

      1. You’re absolutely right Cristina, I agree completely. Cultural mediation is key to our role, generally speaking and especially when dealing with corporate communication.

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