How to Protect Your Business and Improve Employee Retention with Legal Translation

September 8, 2023
How to Protect Your Business and Improve Employee Retention with Legal Translation

In a report published in 2022, the United States Census Bureau has reported that there are roughly 68 million non-English speakers in America as of 2019. That would be around 20% of the 330 million estimated US population of the same year. A part of these non-English speakers successfully find ways to integrate within the US workforce.

In our globalized society, corporations that employ multilingual workforces have the responsibility of transparently integrating their employees. In doing so, they also protect themselves from potential conflicts. Transparency ensures corporations that each non-speaking employee is properly informed of their roles and responsibilities.

On the other hand, having seamless access to information also presents benefits to a non-English speaking employee. Assets translated to their native language allows them to feel welcome in the workplace. In this case, transparency allows employees to trust their employers and grow within their current position.

What serves as a foundation to this transparent relationship you are looking to cultivate? Accurately translated legal contracts.

Mandates for Professional Legal Translation for Multilingual Workforces 

The California Civil Code Section 1632 acknowledges that the linguistic diversity of the state has grown, with many residents speaking languages other than English at home. The most common languages spoken, other than English, are Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. As such, its main provisions detail the need for legal translations of business contracts to the more predominant non-English languages within the state.

This applies not only for employment contracts but also to other business transactions (i.e. consumer contracts, long-term leases, legal services, and foreclosure consulting, etc.). While the English version determines contractual rights and obligations, significant discrepancies between translated and original versions can suggest no contract formation. Non-compliance permits aggrieved parties to rescind the contract in some specific cases. In this context, accurate and professional legal translation services are imperative.

A study published by Harvard in 2017 delves into language-related legislation across 20 U.S. states. As reported, the U.S. government caters for non-English-speaking workers through diverse state-specific language legislations – especially in states like California, Illinois, and D.C. Many states, on the other hand, prioritize the Spanish-language. Federal influence promotes some level of language accessibility nationwide, despite some states being adamantly pro English-only laws.

Why Does Your Business Need Legal Translations?

The adage “lost in translation” is detrimental when applied in legal contexts. Misunderstandings due to shoddy translations can not only sour employee-employer relationships, but can also lead to legal disputes. Here are more specific considerations why transparency should be fostered within the workplace, starting with your binding document – the employment contract.

Navigating Legalities

At the core of any employment relationship is the employment contract. It dictates the terms, conditions, rights, and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee. But what happens when the precision of this contract is lost in translation?

1. Ambiguity and Exploitation: An inaccurately translated clause might leave room for ambiguity. This can lead to situations where either party, knowingly or unknowingly, exploits the unclear terms to their advantage, leading to disputes.

2. Non-Compliance with Local Laws: Every country has its labor laws and regulations. A mistranslation can result in non-compliance, exposing the business to legal actions by local authorities.

3. Financial Repercussions: Apart from potential fines and legal fees, inaccuracies can lead to compensation claims or breach of contract allegations. Such situations can financially drain businesses, especially small to medium-sized enterprises.

Managing Expectations

Attracting top talent is vital for success, but retention is a whole other thing. As businesses operate globally, precise contract translations are essential for trust and job satisfaction. Organizations should prioritize diversity, including translating key company documents for a multilingual workforce.

Ambiguity can lead to a lot of issues, such as:

1. Misalignment of Expectations: An ambiguous employment contract can lead to mismatched expectations. For instance, an employee might interpret a vaguely worded contract to mean they have flexible hours, while the employer expects strict 9-to-5 adherence. This discrepancy can lead to discontent and, eventually, a search for alternative employment.

2. Legal and Financial Implications: Unclear compensation, benefits, or bonus clauses can result in misunderstandings. Employees might feel they’re not receiving their due, fostering resentment and leading them to seek clearer pastures elsewhere.

3. Growth and Development Concerns: Ambiguities related to role responsibilities and paths to promotion can hinder an employee’s career growth. Feeling trapped or underutilized, they might leave for opportunities where the career trajectory is more transparent.

How Do Translation Providers help Local Businesses

For Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

For SMBs operating on tight budgets and constrained resources, being resourceful is a must. At the same time, such businesses need to better understand their potential – pushing for efficiency to boost their growth Turning to translation providers for professional assistance emerges as a pragmatic recourse.


In the realm of language and legalities, translation services offer unparalleled expertise. These agencies deploy professionals who masterfully blend linguistic fluency with precise legal terminology. While having in-house linguistic experts can strain operational budgets, outsourcing emerges as a financially sound choice. It allows SMBs the flexibility to spend only when essential, striking a balance between economic sensibility and adaptability.

Professional translation firms boast a wide operational range, backed by a cadre of experienced linguists primed for extensive projects or immediate needs. More than just translating words, these experts grasp cultural nuances, crafting content that resonates effectively while avoiding cultural misunderstandings or misrepresentations.


In the intricate global business arena, small-medium businesses display commendable agility but often wrestle with resource constraints. Unlike larger entities, they usually lack extensive legal or linguistic units, making their foray into international markets a challenging endeavor. Venturing into these waters without the right linguistic expertise can land them in legal quagmires, a risk especially significant for those with constrained budgets and reputational concerns.

Given these challenges, SMBs frequently realize the need for legal proficiency in various languages. Missteps in translations can alter contractual terms or inadvertently breach local regulations, leading to legal consequences and extended operational timelines. However, amidst these linguistic and regulatory obstacles, many SMBs are increasingly adopting specialized legal translations. These services offer a bridge to language barriers and ensure compliance with regional standards, positioning SMBs to deftly navigate the global market while safeguarding their reputation and financial standing.

Empowering Immigrant-Owned Ventures Through Clear Communication 

In today's diverse commercial landscape, immigrant-owned businesses shine, blending resilience, innovation, and diverse heritages. While they introduce unique offerings, they simultaneously grapple with linguistic and cultural challenges. These businesses target a range of audiences from native communities to broader demographics of their adopted nations. Translation providers allow them to present their traditional roots in a way that is fit for their modern audiences.

Consider a Middle Eastern bistro trying to keep its authenticity, yet making its menu relatable to an American customer. Likewise, a Chinese-founded startup with a multilingual team would emphasize translated communications and contracts. Translation, in this context, is pivotal, shaping customer relations, ensuring legal compliance, and facilitating internal coordination. It's not just a tool; it’s a key to fostering a unified, prosperous future in a multifaceted commercial world.


In today’s interconnected landscape of global trade, the precision of translation services (more specifically legal translation) holds a special place. Accurate legal translation is a means to safeguards against potential legal complications in any given multilingual workplace.

Such services should transcend mere word-for-word translations. They should be able to capture cultural subtleties and technical business-specific jargons. Clear communication is more than a necessity — it's an investment towards lasting success, positive brand reputation, and a healthy workforce. In essence, expert legal translation is the cornerstone of thriving in today's multifaceted commercial world.

For any language-related problems, check out our translation services and find out how we can help.


By Clarriza Heruela

Clarriza Mae Heruela graduated from the University of the Philippines Mindanao with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, majoring in Creative Writing. Her experience from growing up in a multilingually diverse household has influenced her career and writing style. She is still exploring her writing path and is always on the lookout for interesting topics that pique her interest.



Subscribe to receive all the latest updates from Tomedes.

Post your Comment

I want to receive a notification of new postings under this topic


Need expert language assistance? Inquire now

Do It Yourself

I want a free quote now and I'm ready to order my translations.

Do It For Me

I'd like Tomedes to provide a customized quote based on my specific needs.

Want to be part of our team?