Written by ForeignExchange Translations on Tuesday, July 13, 2010
When working in any sort of multicultural environment, it is important to realize that people from different backgrounds have differing approaches to fundamental issues such as communication, personal relationships, and success. For many American drug and device companies who employ people from Spanish-speaking countries, this can be a particular challenge.Hmmm... the above paraphrases some of Melissa Burkhardt's advise in an well-attended conference that she did for us. It's a timely and important topic; pharma and medical device companies expend significant resources to hire and retain "diverse" employees (for an example, see BMS' web site).
On occasion, even when materials and instructions are translated well, employers do not get the response that they need from Spanish-speaking employees. This happens not because of a lack of desire to be a valuable employee, but because of Spanish speakers' misconceptions about what it takes to be a valuable employee in the United States. Overcoming the challenges of engaging Spanish-speaking employees can have a positive and long-lasting impact on your company's success.
It makes me scratch my head, though. Where is the line between giving useful insight on the topic of Hispanic employees and demeaning another culture through generalizations?
Melissa and other cultural consultants provide a valuable and much needed service. The challenge, I believe, lies with the companies that get that advice. How it is heard and implemented affects the company's bottom line but also the morale of Spanish-speaking employees.
So, what do you think? Is it possible for companies and employees to bridge cultural gaps without resorting to generalizations? Or should we see generalizations as a good, helpful thing?
And while you're here, take a look at the following:
- Trying to reach Hispanics online? Content is king
- Drug, device firms asleep when it comes to Hispanics
- Language fact: Universal Spanish
- Achieving Benefits Plan Buy-In from Spanish-Speaking Employees
For expert medical translations of regulatory, clinical, and marketing content in 40 languages - including Spanish - request a detailed proposal from ForeignExchange Translations.