How Are Translation Services Important to Non-Profit Organizations?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Non-Profit Organizations play an absolutely vital role in building healthy communities. They do this by providing critical services that contribute to both economic stability and mobility. They also strengthen communities in other very important ways like socially and culturally. Frequently, we can see non-profit leaders as the voice of the people that they serve, help and represent.
Translation is a completely necessary service for many non-profit organizations. Especially those that work outside national borders with people who don't speak English. Or within their national borders but are working with people who speak English as a second language. Having information available in different languages facilitates communication and encourages members of communities to ask for help when they need it.
Within the U.S. there is a need for translation services in non-profit organizations. The U.S. is a country that is not only populated but also developed by immigration, and that hasn’t changed since its founding nor is it ever likely to change in the future.
That being said, there still aren’t enough resources for many immigrants who have not yet learned English or at least not well enough to understand it without help from an interpreter or with translated materials. Sometimes, in the case of more recent immigrants or those who simply haven’t managed to find enough work, non-profit organizations that provide free healthcare, food source, housing, and other services are their only options. Imagine then that you are trying to get help with a medical issue and not being able to understand anything that the doctors and nurses are telling you. It can be a stressful and even frightening feeling that no one should have to experience.
Translation is definitely not the same as interpreting, but having a leaflet, website or even forms on hand in the patient’s native language does wonders to bridge the gap.
What Is the Purpose of Translation?
Simply put, translation is when we convey meaning with words in one language and change them into another. The translation is necessary for the spread of information, knowledge, and ideas. It is necessary for effective and empathetic communication between different cultures. (Exeter University)
Effective communication is key for any non-profit organization which is why translation services are so important.
Why is Translation Important in the US?
The United States attracts immigrants from across the globe, who speak a diverse array of languages. In 2013, approximately 61.6 million individuals, foreign and U.S. born, spoke a language other than English at home. While the majority of these individuals also spoke English with native fluency or very well, about 41 percent (25.1 million) were considered Limited English Proficient (LEP). – Migration Policy
The US has never been more linguistically diverse. Whether Non-Profit Organizations are working with clients, donors, partners, or the general public, they are highly likely to encounter people who speak little or no English.
Sensitive issues, especially those that Non-Profit Organizations need to communicate about are difficult enough to address in your language. Having a partner that provides accurate, reliable and personal translation and interpretation services can help to ensure communication runs smoothly, clearly and easily for all involved. Therefore, Non-Profit Organizations can strengthen their relationships, and fulfill their noble missions.
What is a Non-Profit Organization?
A Non-Profit Organization is a tax-exempt organization that does not make a profit but instead benefits the broader public interest. However, the Internal Revenue Service defines that there are more than 25 different categories of organizations that are exempt from federal income taxes and, therefore, declared as Non-Profit Organizations. The most common Non-Profit Organizations is classified as a 501 (c) (3), which includes public charities or private foundations. The majority of Independent Sector members are organizations.
These organizations include large national and multinational organizations such as the American Red Cross, as well as your local soup kitchen down the street, community social hospitals, and then places of worship. You can find more details on the different types of tax-exempt organizations directly on the IRS website.
Facts about Non-Profit Organization
- There are 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States – this includes all 501(c) designations from churches and cultural centers to food banks and disaster relief organizations.
- The non-profit sector – 10 percent of the American workforce or 11.4 million jobs – is the third-largest workforce in the U.S., behind retail and manufacturing.
- Americans are generous. Total charitable giving in the U.S. in 2016 was about $390 billion, a 2.7 percent increase from 2015.
- Approximately 63 million Americans — 25 percent of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
- The 2016 national value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour. In other words, Americans contribute $193 billion of their time to our communities.
Source: Independent Sector Organization
Services Non-Profit Organizations Might Need Translation Services For
There is a huge range of services that a translation company can assist Non-Profit Organizations with. Here are just a few of them:
Non-Profit Organizations translation projects
Non-Profit Organizations need to work with a huge range of people and companies when they take on new projects. Sometimes they will source funding from non-English speaking countries which means translation services are essential.
Alternatively, they may be providing services to countries that do not use English as a first language. For example, when sending aid, resources, materials, or health care essentials to non-English speaking countries, navigating paperwork and documentation would be impossible without the use of a translation service. Imagine doing all of the hard work, having a container full of aid that would change entire communities and villages but it is held up in customs because incorrect paperwork was filed.
Another scenario is when helping non-English speakers in the US itself. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” - The Civil Rights Act of 1964
While this became part of the law when the government introduced Executive Order number 13166: Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency. Many of the people that Non-Profit Organizations work with in the US do not know about this legislation nor do they benefit from it. Therefore, it falls to the Non-Profit Organization to arrange for translation services.
This applies more to Non-Profit Organizations that work mainly within the US. Non-Profit Organizations that specialize, for example, in women who are victims of domestic abuse, will need to be able to provide in-person translation services. These translators must not only translate real-time but with empathy and social awareness of the situation.
The number of students in the US who are registered as English Language Learners ELLs (Students who are not proficient in English) is at 10.1 percent, or 5 million students (National Education Center for Statistics), and this can present a number of difficulties for educators.
Non-Profit Organizations spend a lot of time and money following a huge range of processes, policies, and procedures. This includes filling and filing a lot of taxes and records. A translation service can help with this process for internal purposes, such as when dealing with foreign governments and organizations.
Alternatively, they can provide translated forms and documents that are used by the people that Non-Profit Organizations are trying to help. Giving them the tools and resources to be able to apply for social welfare, assisted living, educational support, healthcare, and more can really help a huge number of people whose first language is not English. It can literally change their lives.
Sending out newsletters to members of Non-Profit Organizations is a great way to keep them updated with all the hard work that is being done. It gives Non-Profit Organizations the chance to inform them of any changes relevant to their work. However, it is important that this is accessible to all readers. Making a newsletter in different languages to suit the demographic of a Non-Profit Organization is essential in keeping everyone in the loop.
People searching for the help of Non-Profit Organizations will generally use google in the first instance. This means that websites need to be multilingual. Then, think about all the hard work, effort, and time invested in SEO practices in English… these need to be mirrored in other languages. Poor translations, conflicting information, and incorrect computer-generated translation can cause more harm than good.
Online automated translation services cannot capture the essence of true meanings. Think about complex legal phrases, colloquialisms, and expressions. While free tools can be a good foundation, Non-Profit Organizations need perfect translations, every single time.
Challenges Faced by Non-Profit Organizations in Translation Services
Just like any other type of business, Non-Profit Organizations have their very own unique language access needs. These are shaped by the communities they serve, objectives, organizational size, and services they provide.
Although every Non-Profit Organization needs its own language access plan to fit its specific needs, it is true that you can find that many non-profit organizations have similar challenges when they are looking to provide useful and meaningful language access.
Some of the most common challenges include:
- Limitations due to budget constraints
- Limited staff
- Limited resources
- Limited capacity
- Limited time
- Providing resources and services for less common languages spoken in their area
- Providing timely and cost-effective language services
How Does Poor Translation Services Affect Non-Profit Organizations?
There are a few ways in which poor translation services can affect Non-Profit Organizations. Here are a few of them:
- Errors in miscommunication take valuable time when there are already limited resources. This can lead to higher costs and a waste of resources.
- Ineffective communication can result in Non-Profit Organizations losing funding and finding themselves gaining public scrutiny.
- Delays in any services and miscommunication errors lead to unnecessary visits and calls that impact the productivity and the efficiency of Non-Profit Organizations.
- Ineffective communication can negatively impact the reputation of Non-Profit Organizations within the community and lead to decreased involvement in the program or initiative.
- Miscommunications can impede the mission and goals of Non-Profit Organizations.
The Translation Company
The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for Non-Profit Organizations. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a truly first-class service.
They can do that in a range of ways that specifically cater to Non-Profit Organizations, for example:
- Achieving and enhancing government compliance and regulatory compliance with relevant legislation
- Lowering costs by maximizing Non-Profit Organizations resources and cutting down on time spent dealing with miscommunication errors
- Increasing the efficiency and productivity of Non-Profit Organizations
- Providing a positive response to local community needs
- Promoting community integration especially in immigrant, refugee, and LEP communities
- Increasing staff adoption and reduces staff frustration within Non-Profit Organizations
- Enabling Non-Profit Organizations to build a higher level of trust and awareness in the communities that they serve
The Translation Company makes their services even more accessible to Non-Profit Organizations with a variety of ways they can help for less money. By offering discounted services and no tax charges, Non-Profit Organizations can trust in them to provide a fantastic worthwhile service, for a much lower cost.
With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge array of subject matter experts they will be able to assist you in all your Non-Profit Organization's translation needs with outstanding quality and service.
You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss further.
The Translation Company prepared a checklist to ensure that Non-Profit organizations cover the best practices and gain tactics that up-level your efforts to acquire, steward, retain, and increase the commitment of your donors through digital marketing.