Communication and trust in global virtual teams can do wonders for motivation, retention and the all-important bottom line. So, when it comes to producing must-see content for your international workforce, how do you make sure your editorial efforts are always well-received?
Brilliant design, incisive reporting, L&D updates, captivating input from all around the business, and pics of Jeannie from accounts sponsored skydive to boot. A company newsletter any self-respecting internal communications manager would be proud of, right?
On the surface, yes! This sounds like the perfect publication to share with colleagues to keep them abreast of news, training opportunities and to foster an inclusive vibe across the whole organisation.
But wait. What if it’s routinely published just in English?
How well will international employees engage with all this amazing content if it’s not speaking to them in their native tongue? Despite English being the world’s most dominant language, of the 1.5 billion people who speak it, more than 25% don’t cite it as their first language.
Multilingual teams deserve multilingual communications
English may be the accepted international language of business; and while sticking with this one-language strategy may stand up in its B2B capacity, carrying this approach through with your internal audience, doesn’t work so well.
When it comes to increasing engagement with global workforces, there’s nothing more effective than sharing communications with employees in their native tongue. When companies choose to produce internal communications solely in English, engagement is poor, and miscommunications are rife.
Translate to relate
Cheesy but true! There’s a wealth of evidence showing how much better received key messages are when they’re communicated in the intended recipient’s language.
Taking employee L&D as an example, research done by the Rosetta Stone Foundation found that when training was not delivered in their own language, 67% of employees said miscommunications contributed to inefficiencies, 46% said teams couldn’t collaborate effectively, 42% said productivity had reduced and 24% said that attracting and retaining talent is more difficult.
Discover more in our webcast Engaging with a global workforce.
Inclusivity is key
An inclusive workplace values the individual and group differences within its workforce and makes them feel connected. By speaking your employee’s language and embracing cultural nuances, it can help to build the inclusive culture your business is striving for.
A study by the Australian Institute of Company Directors found that organisations with inclusive cultures have a clear advantage over those that do not. They are twice as likely to exceed financial targets and eight times more likely to achieve business outcomes.
Benefits include being:
- Two times more likely to exceed financial targets
- Three times more likely to be high performing
- Six times more likely to be innovative and agile
- Eight times more likely to achieve business outcomes
So how can you take these learnings into your framework for building multilingual and globally accessible newsletters?
With a newsletter, you’re looking to share information around health and safety, training programmes, recruitment drives and key corporate messages – all of which need to be understood across a wide spectrum of multinational staff. So, it’s a good idea to segment and translate as much of this content as possible.
Follow these internal company newsletter best practices as a guide to get you started:
- Adopt a localisation mindset
The more creative the content, the more involved the localisation process will be. Ensure the content writer understands the localisation spectrum so they can review their own copy and ensure any emotive text or cultural references are necessary and appropriate. Ask them to flag up content which will need to be carefully adapted.
- Engage local review teams
Local partners can provide invaluable on the ground insight, as well as regional content. This helps to ensure your newsletters are as relevant and engaging as possible. See Engaging local teams in translating internal comms for our 7 practical steps for working with local teams.
- Tailoring content
Not all UK news will be relevant for other regions; by replacing UK-centric pieces with more regionally-appropriate content, you’ll automatically make a more interesting read for your international teams.
- Use clear language
Use clear, concise sentences to make translation easier. Standard English should be used, where possible.
- Be consistent
By being consistent in the use of terminology and common phrases, translation will be faster and more transparent.
- Be engaging
As part of your internal comms strategy, your newsletter needs to engage with employees and tune into their culture and language.
- Check copy
Eliminate the unnecessary use of location-specific symbols, numerals and text (e.g., £ signs, dates, times and English words).
You’ll also want to make sure every edition contains interesting articles, timely info, and is something employees look forward to receiving…
- Be sensible with what you can achieve
Don’t be overambitious with your publication schedule – it’s far better to send quarterly newsletters than weeklies if you’re struggling for regular content.
- Make sure you include content from across your international teams
You’ll lose readers if you focus too much on one region – try and stay inclusive.
- Check you’re not alienating audiences with cultural references
What’s amusing to employees in Europe, may seem rude or even offensive to colleagues on a different continent!
Bring your international teams together with the right words
Fully inclusive company newsletters can unite global workforces and help you reach your business goals. They can form part of your internal comms strategy of creating an inclusive workplace experience and a happy, productive, and loyal team! On the flip side, there are some negative implications to be had if you scrimp on your internal translation – see our article What does it say about your company if you cut corners on internal comms translation?
We’re here to help
We’ve created a free-to-download guide to support your next steps in internal comms translations. It’s packed with tips and advice!
For further info on how we can help you with your translation queries or requirements, please give our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to talk translation!