Spanish Translator* – English Classes – Spanish Classes…What is the best solution for your organization?
A familiar scenario:
José is on line 3 and he doesn’t speak English, only Spanish. He’s out on the road and needs help right away. He is having trouble locating his delivery destination. “We need a Spanish translator, now!”
When one or more of your employees don’t speak English, and Spanish is their first language, how do you fix the problem as quickly as possible? What’s the best solution?
- Use a telephonic translation service?
- Teach your staff to speak Spanish?
- Teach your workers to speak English?
Actually, all three of these solutions make for good fixes, but not all solutions are right for every company. Here are some pros and cons of each language solution for you to consider:
Telephonic Translating* Service:
- A solid translating service is available immediately; it’s just a phone call away, and it’s effective as a quick language solution.
- It’s always available regardless of your location – you just dial the interpreter line and communication can happen when you’re together with the other party or from a distance.
- Interpreting takes time – you have a third person in the conversation and even though a good interpreter will be quick on the draw, you still have to say everything in the conversation 2x; so it’s bound to take longer.
- It’s not as personal as direct communication, and if you have any persuading to do in the conversation, it’s a little cumbersome.
- Most telephonic interpreting services will require a monthly contract, and that cost may exceed your monthly interpreting needs.
If you find you’re requiring several hours of interpreting on a daily basis, costs will add up and it might be time to start looking at other solutions.
Learn to Speak Spanish through Spanish Classes:
- In the long term, a well planned and beneficial solution might be to have one or more of your staff members learn Spanish. Having team members who can speak Spanish and understand some basics will vastly improve company communication and make work processes smoother and the workplace more harmonious.
- Many businesses find that their efficiency and revenues improve when they can offer bilingual management and bilingual customer service.
- Spanish classes can be tailored to your specific language requirements to make sure that you’re not learning about vacation travel vocabulary when you need to be studying the essentials of construction Spanish (for example).
- Classes take time & learning to speak Spanish is not “easy.”
- If you select a 2nd language to teach at work, you automatically don’t meet the needs of the other languages represented by your workforce.
- Not every employee is fit to learn a language on your dime. Let’s face it, some people are good students and others aren’t – so you need to know your workforce and evaluate if a company “training” in a foreign language is going to be a good investment for you.
- Not every industry scenario lends itself to carving out time for regular classes without affecting production or otherwise getting in the way of your work.
If you’ve got staff that will be responsible students and take the training seriously and not feel jaded by the prospect of having to learn Spanish, offering Spanish Classes at work might be a good solution for you.
Learn to speak English through English Classes:
- Teaching your workforce to speak English in the workplace makes good sense.
- English as a second language classes at your workplace can be delivered to all your limited English workforce regardless of their native language.
- Learning English at work promotes good relationships between management and the workforce and engenders a positive atmosphere within the company.
- This is variable of course, but workers who are given the opportunity to learn English are generally more appreciative than those who think that they have to learn Spanish for work.
- The same cons exist for hosting English classes as they do for hosting Spanish classes at your workplace (time, productivity, etc).
- You may have some attrition as your staff look for better jobs now that they can speak English. This is a potential CON to any training, it’s not specific to employees learning English – it is a reality in most all employee training that gives your workforce new skills. You run the same risk of losing your best sales guy after putting him through a year of sales training as you do after you teach your workforce to speak English. In the end it comes down to keeping your workforce feeling increasingly valued as you make them more valuable.
If you’ve got staff that will be responsible students and take the training seriously, offering English Classes at work might be a good solution for you.
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*Terminology Clarification – Translator vs Interpreter:
In the language world, we distinguish between translating & interpreting in a very clear way:
Translation = the conversion of one language into another in written form. Therefore a translator translates written language.
Interpretation = the conversion of one language into another in oral form. Therefore an interpreter interprets from one language to another orally.
2 thoughts on “S.O.S. – We Need a Spanish Translator! – Do you really?”
Even though providers say they need a “Translator”, the term is incorrect when it relates to a spoken interactions.
An INTERPRETER is known as the conveyor of SPOKEN messages/information between two or more languages.
A TRANSLATOR is known as the conveyor of WRITTEN messages/content from one language into the another.
Rory may need to correct this common mistake repeated in his article.
You’re 100% right Victor! We’ve intentionally used the word translator because that’s what people say… and therefore that’s the search term they use online. We wrote it so people would find it :). But I should definitely make note in the post of the proper terminology. Cheers,