The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Based on Census Bureau data from 2018, 67.3 million of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home. That’s roughly the entire population of France.
Many of these immigrants are proficient with English, but some are considered LEP or “Limited English Proficient”. This refers to any person aged 5 or older who reported speaking English less than “very well,” as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau. Immigrants to the United States come from many different language backgrounds and educational levels. While some of them speak English very well indeed, roughly half were considered LEP in 2015.
Increase in Productivity and On-The-Job Safety
A study conducted by the CPWR Center for Construction Research and Training found that after receiving a 10-hour OSHA training in their native language, Spanish-speaking construction workers reported substantial improvement in awareness and work practices. They had previously received the training in English. However, these workers commented that, while they understood the course in English, it was not a complete understanding, and they didn’t have the necessary English skills to ask questions.
After training was deployed in their native language, they felt comfortable discussing health and safety topics with each other and were more aware of hazards and their responsibilities regarding them. Not only did injuries in the workplace decrease, employee morale and work efficiency saw an increase. Studies done in the agriculture and hospitality industries provided similar findings.
It is important for all companies to create a Corporate Safety Culture document. This is a roadmap that establishes ways to track safety metrics, how to report and resolve hazards, document the responsible parties, and plans for training. Once established, this and other policy and procedural documents, signs, labels, and online training should be made available in your employees’ native language. At minimum, every employee needs to understand their rights, responsibilities, and how to identify and report hazards.
“Companies who invest in training LEP workers in their native language have better health and safety records and higher customer and employee satisfaction. “
Localizing training and Human Resource materials is more than just mere translation. Some terms may have legal connotations that must be properly considered. Elements in videos or some images may need to be adapted to ensure the best learning experience depending on the target culture.
Targem Translations has over 25 years of experience and a team of industry veterans who are ready to help with your next Human Resources and Compliance project. We’ll work with you to create accurate and culturally appropriate localized products for each audience so your company can show its care and inclusiveness for all employees in a brilliant way. Contact us today to get started.
Silvia Carvalho, Head of Localization at Targem Translations