Has your company recently changed its travel policies, come the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic? Well, now is the time to update your corporate travel policy, in order to include the current CDC travel guidance changes.
Plus, if you’re going to be updating your travel policies, you’re also going to need to translate them.
Staying on Top of Business Travel Policy Updates
Since the start of COVID-19, the way we travel has gone through a number of drastic changes. While it’s always been important to keep your business travel policy up to date, it’s especially necessary during a time such as this. Given the newest update of the CDC travel guidelines, now is the time to take a good, hard look at the current state of your business’s travel policy.
Having an up-to-date travel policy has always been important. Even prior to the start of the pandemic, the world was in a constant state of change. So, in order to keep your travel policy at its safest and most effective, it has to undergo changes to reflect the shifting world around it.
For instance, your travel policy should always take into account issues related to security. What’s the best plan of action to prepare for a trip? What measures should be taken during the trip, as well as after travel? This is especially relevant whenever individuals are traveling to or from high-risk destinations. Additionally, in the present day, what’s the best way to handle a travel emergency or disruption? Finally, what about security around your company’s assets?
All of those variables can change, depending on the time of travel. Further, travelers are confronted with a variety of different fees during a trip, and these are likely to change fairly often. In your business travel policy, you’ll need to be clear on which fees are reimbursable as waived fees, for example. Your travel guidelines should also address hotel compliance, developments in mobile and travel technology, and shifts in the lowest logical airfare.
Translating Corporate Policies: Why It Matters
So, maybe you devised a solid COVID business travel policy for your employees. It can be a massive relief just to have this step taken care of, although you should never stop there. As soon as your business updates its travel policy, then it’s time to work on translation. For the sake of your non-English speaking employees, a translated policy is necessary for clear communication. If your travel policy isn’t being clearly communicated to any of your employees, this can lead to serious issues in the future. It’s important that everyone involved stays on the same page, no matter the language they’re most comfortable communicating in.
When it comes to policies such as this, it’s also important to keep in mind that proficiency in spoken English isn’t the same as proficiency in written English. Even though some of your employees may be perfectly comfortable communicating through spoken word, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be proficient in understanding written English. Considering this is the means by which you’ll deliver a travel policy to employees, it’s important that all the individuals involved be able to comfortably understand what is written before them.
In order to ensure that you’re offering a safe work environment to all your employees, it’s important that all of your business’s policies be clear and understandable to all those to whom they apply. No employee is able to agree to a set of policies they can’t understand, and that includes travel policies. In the case of all documents and policies that are necessary for your employees’ safety or overall job performance, you’re going to need to invest in professional translation services.
However, your business doesn’t need to translate every single document you produce. It’s important to understand which policies and documents matter the most when it comes to the safety and job performance of your employees. The reality is travel policies certainly fall under this umbrella. Although it’s far from ideal, travel mishaps and emergencies happen, and your business needs to be fully equipped to handle such a situation.
If your employee was unable to understand the travel policy, not only does this increase the risk of an emergency, but it also severely complicates the post-emergency situation. Legally speaking, no employee can agree to policies or agreements that they aren’t able to understand, due to a language barrier. If something goes wrong during travel, your company could then be held responsible. Without a translated travel policy, your business is at a far greater risk of facing a lawsuit, should something go wrong during business-related travel.
The Legality of Language Accessibility
Due to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, businesses are instructed to provide language access to any critical documents they distribute to employees. These important documents must be made available in the native language of their intended audience.
This is also heavily addressed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which promotes the use of language assistance services to aid limited English proficient (LEP) individuals in the workplace. Further, meaningful access to these services is an important factor. In order for meaningful access to be achieved, language access programs must provide the LEP individual with “accurate, timely, and effective” communication. Importantly, this should come at no cost to the LEP employee — so, language access services cannot be substantially restricted or delayed. These services also can’t be inferior, compared to the English language services that English proficient individuals receive.
Title VII also instructs that English access programs both determine the individual’s language needs and provide them with adequate language access.
If you’re interested in learning more about the technicalities of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Language Access Plan (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), then keep in mind that the full document is available on the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website (linked above).
The Challenges of Translating Travel Policies (and Other Materials)
Whenever you’re having your updated travel policy translated, it’s important that you don’t put this task into just anyone’s hands. Translation isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to technical documents. For instance, these types of materials could include technical jargon, as well as terminology that’s unique to your business or workplace.
It’s vital that your travel policy be translated carefully, in order to ensure that all terms are precisely translated. It’s all too easy for certain points or terms to be lost in translation if they’re not handled by a skilled translator. Further, you’ll receive the best results when a translator has a level of familiarity with your field. This can help reduce the likelihood of confusion or mistranslations.
Before handing off your updated travel policy to a translator, take a look and make sure that your language is written clearly and concisely. If your English language policy is easily understandable and to the point, you can expect an easier translation process. (Plus, this will make the policy far more easily understandable by your English-speaking employees as well. Wordy or convoluted policies are never a wise idea in any case.)
In addition, never utilize machine translation to take care of policy or official document translations. This is a highly unreliable method and can be even more detrimental in this kind of circumstance. After all, you need the translation of your travel policy to be just as clear in another language as it is in English. It will also need to communicate the same message and meaning to each employee that references it. With a highly literal and non-discerning machine translation, meaning is certain to be lost. This can lead to serious misunderstandings, should the intent of your travel policy be lost in translation.
Taking a Look at Business-Related Travel, After COVID-19
If you weren’t already convinced that a travel policy update was necessary for your business, it’s important to examine just how COVID-19 has changed the way that businesses travel.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of business travelers opted to book their trip separate from their company’s travel policy program. Once upon a time, this practice was considered quite normal — however, due to the lasting impact of the pandemic, this is no longer the case. Instead, in most instances, employees will need to book their trip through their employer’s preferred channels. This way, it’s far simpler to ensure the employee’s safety, allowing their employer to remain up to date on what’s happening in their travel destination.
So, far more than in the past, business travel is heavily monitored by travel managers. That isn’t all, however. Business travel policies will need to account for the rapidly changing environment, as the world continues to adjust to the improving conditions. Your corporate policies will need to remain agile, in order to keep up with this continuous evolution of the world — and, by extension, the world of travel.
Telelanguage Provides Quality Document Translation Services to Businesses
As we’ve mentioned, you shouldn’t choose just any translation service when it comes to crafting an official translation of your updated travel policy. It’s critical that the details and meaning of your policy remain fully intact, including any technical language you may use.
Thankfully, when it comes to translation, you have the experts at Telelanguage to rely upon. Over the course of our 30 years in business, Telelanguage has developed a sophisticated understanding of the translation process. Plus, our team of translators is able to translate your English travel policy into any of over 100 languages. Each of our translators goes through highly specialized training, ensuring that they achieve proficiency in education, medical, and social services content.
Interested in the high-quality translation services offered by Telelanguage? Have any questions for us? You can get in touch with us here , or call us at (888)-983-5352. We’re happy to talk to you about your translation needs.
Director of Contracting
Hayley has been with Telelanguage since 2016. She implements language services from contract negotiations through account set-up. Hayley oversees proposal development, business development, and contract management. In addition, Hayley develops content and graphics for Telelanguage’s various web and marketing platforms.