internal communications

How to create translation-ready Internal Communications

internal communications

We’ll start this blog with a word of caution: English is not a universal language. Whilst believing that won’t stop you ordering a croissant in Paris, it could be very damaging for a global workplace. If you want to find out more about the pros and cons of using one corporate language, check out this blog.

Internal comms need to engage your employees. The job of newsletters and company updates is to inform and connect. That’s why it’s so important to speak your employee’s language. Great internal comms have the power to drive inclusivity at work and drive positive company culture. Put simply, your communications are much more likely to resonate if the reader doesn’t have to translate it themselves. By using their own language you show them that they are valued, included and are less likely to risk misinterpretations.

If you’re operating across many regions, coordinating translations may seem like a huge task. But, if you put in the groundwork with your source material, you can save yourself time, costs and headaches later on. The risks of not doing so, far outweigh the early effort.

You may want to consider centralising your content production. With this approach, there is one clear source for internal comms. You can then take that source content and localise it for each region, thus ensuring the comms are culturally relevant and sensitive. With this approach, it is very important to include local market colleagues in the process.

By being better prepared the translation process will run much more smoothly. Below are our top 7 tips for getting your internal comms ready for translation.

When it comes to writing…

  • Adopt a localisation mindset

The more creative the content is, the more involved the localisation process will be. Ensure the content writer understands the importance of making copy globally appropriate 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.

  • Follow the rules

Follow global guidelines on how to handle the tone of voice and the employer brand. It may be necessary to dial-up or down specific characteristics depending on the audience. A translation partner can advise on when and how to adapt global guidelines to be relevant in different areas.

  • Use clear English

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, the translation will be faster, more consistent and more transparent.

When you’re thinking about design…

  • Leave white space

Translated text can often be significantly longer than the original. Allow enough white space on the page in their designs to accommodate text expansion after translation.

  • Keep things separate

Separate text layers in the source file rather than embedding text into graphics.

  • Remember to replace location-specific imagery

Decide if you’re going to restrict the use of location-specific imagery. Using more generic ‘global’ versions will keep design costs down, speed up production and reduce the risk of an inappropriate image slipping through the net.

These tips should set you off on the right foot when translating your internal communications. If you’re interested to read more practical advice, check out our guide Creating internal communications that engage and connect in every language.

With decades of experience translating internal communication material for global companies, we’re confident we can help tackle your latest project. Get in touch with the team to talk through any challenges you might have and find out more about what we do.


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