Laws and Statutes, Spanish Versions of Employee Documents
Many customers ask if an employee handbook translation law in California exists or if other regulations are on the books regarding the translation of professional and corporate materials into Spanish or other languages other than English. One of the most common questions relates to the existence of a legal requisite for translating company-related documents, such as employee handbooks, policy manuals, safety guides, personnel manuals, documents for human resources and other items, into the native languages of the company’s employees. We have spoken with several attorneys, various human resource professionals and read numerous legal journals, blogs, websites and other publications, and it seems that the following summary is the most common response:
Does California Law require issuance and distribution of foreign language documents for speakers of languages other than English? Yes and No. In other words, does the state of California explicitly require Spanish versions of employee handbooks (or other languages)?
Officially, no. As for January 1, 2020, we are not aware of any particular employee handbook translation law in California that requires publication or translation of documents to Spanish (or other non-English languages), that is, in a general business environment (court and legal situations are completely different); however, if an employer employs or hires limited English proficiency employees, also known as LEP, and an employee suffers an on-the-job injury, violates company policy, or misinterprets current company regulations, the employee may claim to have not fully understood the relevant regulation or procedure or that he or she is unable to understand the material found in the corporate manual or employee handbook. This is where employers become liable.
Unofficially, yes. It is said that if a business employs even a few LEPs, the liability may fall on the employer to provide relevant materials in the native language. This is an easy solution as most handbooks can be translated in a few days for a few hundred dollars, depending on the length and complexity of the policy manual.
Summary: Current California law does not explicitly require employee handbook translation; however, it implicitly requires it due to legal consequences of not providing documentation in the native language or current employees.
Employee Handbook Translation Law in California
The general rule is that if there is any doubt or concern, translate important materials. Not all pages or policies need to be translated in all cases. Some businesses request translation of only safety-related polices or other essential requirements in order to clarify a specific role or duty within the company.
City-Specific and Local Laws in California Regarding Translation
Like federal and state laws, most local and municipal governments do not explicitly state that documents must be translated. We have reviewed city regulations in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco (and their respective counties) and have not been able to fine any particular local regulation; however, many employers have advised us that their corporate offices have suggested, especially when based in California, that all safety materials should be published in the languages spoken by its employees. Additionally, customers in Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento and Long Beach have shared similar experiences regarding the need to translate professional materials. There have been cases in Anaheim and Santa Ana in the past year where employers have been liable for employee injuries due to lack of materials comprehensible to the injured employees. Again, translation provides and extra layer of liability protection and, more importantly, helps employees stay safe by learning essential safety polices in their native language.
This information should not be considered as legal advice as we at SES Translators are not attorneys. This blog entry is a simple conversation regarding a complex topic of the employee handbook translation law in California.
Click here to order your translation, and we can have your official, certified handbook translation ready in a few days or less.
In addition to Spanish, we can translate your employee handbook to Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Simplified), from English to French, English to Arabic, English to Russian, English to Tagalog, and other languages. The previously mentioned languages are the most common requests for handbook translation, and our in-house translators are able to translate quickly. Additionally, within a week or so, we can translate from English to Vietnamese, English to Korean and English to German and several other languages.
Call or email anytime with questions regarding the employee handbook translation law in California or the translation process in general. If you are ready for a quote, just send a copy of your handbook to us, and we will provide a full quote in an hour or less.
Need a quote? Just email your handbook or policy manual to us. Most quotes are provided in one hour or less.
Employee Handbook Translation FAQs
On average, it takes three to four business days to translate an employee handbook. Some agencies will advertise 24 hour turnaround time; however, in order to translate an employee handbook in one day, it would have to be done either electronically, which is never accurate or readable, or completed by multiple translation teams, which lacks uniformity in content. We never outsource or use automated translation software and we do not divide projects into multiple groups. For those reasons, it typically takes a few days for a professional employee handbook translation to be ready.
Yes, our handbook translations are considered certified translations, which are valid in all federal, state and local courts. A translator’s affidavit is included with all handbook translations when requested. There is no additional charge for certification.
Of course not. This is a new trend in translation where a translator maintains creative rights over a translation. We do not believe this is right and will return the completed translation with full rights and privileges. We are only translating your material for you; it is your handbook. Your completed handbook translation will be returned in Word, PDF, InDesign, or Publisher and the documents will be fully editable.
The cost to translate an employee handbook depends on the word-count, format and complexity of the content. The national average in California is around $0.15 to $0.20 per word for most languages. SES Translators charges around $0.10/word, if not less, since documents are translated in-house and never outsourced to third-party translation service providers. Many Spanish translators advertise rates around $20 per page; however, this particular rate is rarely honored as the per-page rate has maximum quantity of words, usually around 200 words. SES Translators provides all rates in advance when quoting and our invoiced amount always reflects the originally quoted rate.