Spanish Translation Services for Businesses

Accurate Spanish Translation Services

English to Spanish translation services for businesses play an important role in today’s economy. Examples of ideas lost in translation abound. They can be extremely funny, like the detour sign encountered in Japan that states “Stop: Drive Sideways,” or the restaurant sign in Spain that declares, “Don’t stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up.” Or, they can be extremely dangerous, such as a mistranslation presented on CNN some years back in which the Iranian President’s comments were translated as “pro-nuclear weapons,” rather than stating that they were “pro-nuclear technology.”

Being able to discern the quality of translation services has never been more important than it is now. We currently live in a time of global markets, global exchanges, global transactions, and global corporations. The demand for translation services in the government, business, and labor sectors has never been higher. Yet, our government and business entities still have difficulty separating the “wheat from the chaff” with regard to quality in translation services.

To understand how serious a mistranslation can be in the business/labor context, let’s take a closer look at a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the case of Labriola Baking Co., 361 N.L.R.B. No. 41 (2014).

The Labriola Baking Company Case

The Facts

At the Labriola Baking Company, workers were considering union representation. In response, an employer’s representative made the following speech to employees:

If you chose Union Representation, we believe that the Union will push you toward a strike. Should this occur, we will exercise our legal right to hire replacement workers for the drivers who strike.

That statement did not violate the law because an employer is permitted to hire replacement workers in the event of a strike.

Because approximately 80% of the employee population was primarily Spanish speaking, the employer hired a Spanish interpreter to translate the employer’s speech to the employees. Significantly, the translator used the Spanish words for “legal workers” or “legal workforce” for the English phrase “replacement workers.”

That specific English to Spanish legal translation resulted in the union claiming that the employer tainted the union election process. The Spanish-speaking employees perceived the speech as a threat that the employer would scrutinize their immigration status. The employer, in response, argued that the speech had nothing to do with the employees’ immigration status, and even as translated the speech did not threaten investigations into employees’ immigration status. A hearing officer found for the employer, and the employees appealed to the NLRB.

Appeal Before the NLRB

The case went before the NLRB. A majority of the Board found for the employees. The Board first concluded that the Spanish translator was an agent for the employer, because the employer hired the translator to speak for it in Spanish. Thus, the distortion of that important phrase – “replacement worker” to “legal worker” – was, in fact, a statement by the employer.

Further, the Board concluded that the reference to “legal workers” or “legal workforce” could be very threatening to the employees. Given the potential vulnerabilities of the Spanish-speaking workers in particular, including their family and friends, it was not unreasonable for the employees to perceive the speech, as translated, as a threat related to immigration consequences. In sum, the Board found that the tone of the speech reflected a “tin ear” to the fears of their employees, certainly in relation to immigration status.

One dissenting Board member stated that the speech in Spanish was not threatening. The member continued that simply because a majority of employees are Spanish speaking does not logically mean that the speech could be construed as a threat about immigration. That position, however, did not win the day.

The NLRB’s ruling was in the midst of a particularly close election with regard to whether the employees would unionize. Therefore, the NLRB ordered that a second election be held, without the cloud of the perceived threat from the employer.

Professional English to Spanish Translation Service Is the Answer

The important take away from the Labriola case is that hiring an English to Spanish legal translation service means that, most likely, a court will view the Spanish translator as an agent of your company. Furthermore, the translation that is created will be considered a product of your company. In other words, the Spanish translation that your company provides in any business transaction will be attributed to your company. Any mistakes or mistranslations, then, will be considered your company’s mistakes.

Knowing that your company takes ownership of any translation it provides, particularly if a mistranslation leads to litigation in court, should indicate that your choice of a Spanish translation service be a carefully considered one. The goal is to find a professional English to Spanish legal translation service you can trust.

We ask that you consider All Language Alliance, Inc. as your go-to Spanish translators for projects large and small. We are a professional translation service that provides the best English to Spanish translations the first time. Whether it is a contract, patent, certified translation of service of process, multilingual e-discovery, or real property deeds, we are the translation service for you and your company. Providing world-class English to Spanish legal translation services for law firms and companies alike with highly skilled Spanish legal translators, and supplying Spanish legal interpreters for depositions and Spanish medical interpreters for hospitals and doctor’s offices we promise confidentiality, precision, and great customer service.

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