Five ways translation can help you build your sustainability strategy
Most companies nowadays are working hard towards reducing their carbon emissions and putting in place a long-term sustainability plan. But what role does translation play in this and how can it help in putting effective systems in place? Read on to find out five ways in which translation can help your company’s sustainability strategy.
Why sustainability should be a top priority for businesses
A recent survey indicates that 76% of consumers pay attention to brand’s sustainability practices when shopping and that 30% of UK consumers are likely to switch brands in response to positive or negative practices. But this trend also applies to other areas such as employment: research shows that over 50% of employees won’t work for a company that doesn’t engage in social or environmental causes.
With more and more people leaning towards a more sustainability-led approach to both work and lifestyle, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that businesses are also moving to greener and less environmentally harmful options at every step of their supply chains. But what happens when your company has a presence in countries where different languages are spoken? How can you build a sustainability strategy that embraces all these realities?
English is widely spoken in corporate contexts but having an English-only approach can be limiting and creates barriers when trying to engage with local communities and consumers, particularly when sensitive environmental and social responsibility factors come to play.
Incorporating translation services as part of your sustainability strategy is essential for ensuring no crucial information is missed and that effective communication is taking place for a robust, long-term strategy. When it comes to your sustainability strategy, a translation plan can help your business:
1)- Tell a coherent story across your brand in multiple languages
Your sustainability efforts are also part of the story that has to be told and that will support your business in its quest for going net zero. However, these efforts are not detached from your overall brand tone, image and company values so having everything in close alignment should be part of your overall business strategy.
If your company has a local presence in multiple countries, your sustainability strategy should also be embedded in the local communications. Having this information translated for the local authorities and stakeholders is a must and can raise your profile with the local community, keep track of your targets, guarantee transparency and help you comply with local legislation.
2)- Identify environmental risks in multiple countries where your company has a presence
Understanding the local impacts of your company’s activities is essential for engaging in an effective, long-term sustainability plan. Depending on your industry, you will need to find out the environmental impact your company is having at a local and global scale. Energy, water, waste, transport, raw materials, and packaging are some examples of the items to focus on.
If local documents are not available in your language for an Initial Environmental Review (IER), you are likely to need these translated to understand the local legislation in order to ensure compliance and address any areas of priority.
3)- Collect relevant data and set targets
For often-cited author Stephen Covey “goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them.” Having a plan in place is the first step to successfully achieve your sustainability goals.
Once an environmental review has been performed, translating any environmental and social impacts into your company’s languages will ensure all data is available for setting the right targets.
4)- Ensure accurate measuring and reporting
Nothing can be more damaging for a company’s reputation than communicating the wrong targets because crucial information was missed due to lack of translation.
Having a translation plan in place for your sustainability strategy will ensure that the suitable activities are being pursued to track and measure the right KPIs and that any reports based on the data accurately reflect this.
5)-Communicate your sustainability efforts to the world
Think carefully about the aspects of your sustainability journey you want to share with your clients and stakeholders. Depending on the region some targets will be more relevant than others, so having this in mind will help you make informed decisions of what you actually need translated. This will not only paint a cohesive brand image in your target languages, but also effectively communicate your company’s relevant efforts in different parts of the world.
A recent survey shows that 75% of employees feel more fulfilled by their jobs when given the opportunity to make a positive impact. Therefore, it is equally important to communicate any implementations to staff and encourage feedback sharing whenever possible.
In reviewing the sections that need translation, you will be able to improve the quality of the source report and whether all the messages and metrics included in the documents are necessary for comprehension. Being concise and transparent is as important as having a coherent sustainability story across multiple languages.
At M.R. Language Services I understand the importance of channelling a message that communicates your company’s sustainability goals effectively.
I can help you and your team reach your sustainability targets by ensuring all your communications are carefully translated and localised.
Mariana Roccia is a certified translator and language teacher working between English and Spanish. Her specialisms are law, business, and academia. She holds an MA in Linguistics and an MA in Environmental Humanities. In addition to working as a translator, she is also involved in language research and regularly presents her findings in the field to the industry. She co-convenes the International Ecolinguistics Association, a network of over 1,200 researchers around the world, and is the Co-Editor of the book series Bloomsbury Advances in Ecolinguistics. She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), Member of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) and Committee Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s Western Regional Group. Keep in touch with Mariana on LinkedIn, Facebook and Academia.edu.