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Do you speak Spanish?
January 11, 2012

If you are Latino/Hispanic, have you ever had a boss ask you “Do you speak Spanish?” (Or it could be that you’re from a different country and speak a different language – but same scenario.)

Next thing you know they are asking you to translate the company’s brochure into Spanish.  What do you do? You’ll probably translate the brochure… You are willing to do this because you think: 1. it may affect your performance review if you say no; 2. you might win brownie points; 3. how bad could the translation be that you produce?

This is a critical issue in offices throughout the United States. Many companies believe that if they use a bilingual employee to translate their materials, they are saving the company money. But are they really? They are actually putting their companies at risk because if the translation is not done correctly, the company may be liable for something that is incorrectly translated.

I always use this example: Would a company use their accountant to write their marketing materials? No. Just because a person is fluent in English, does not mean that they can “write” marketing materials.  By this same token, just because a person is fluent in Spanish, does not mean that they can translate into Spanish. Everyone has an expertise and companies should have their employees focus on the tasks in their job description.

Professional translation companies exist expressly for this purpose: to expertly translate organizations written materials into other languages. These companies have vetted the professional translators and the translation is put through a quality control process. At UNO Translations and Communications, LLC we also offer graphic design service, so a company can receive a print-ready document.

This is a classic case of “you get what you pay for”. Don’t let your company be humiliated by sending out a poorly translated document! And don’t put your bilingual employees in a difficult situation…

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