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Format for Translation of Controlled Documents into Spanish

M

MfgPro

#1
I'm just discovering that most of our work force (I've been here 3 weeks) speaks NO English, and therefore need to translate most, if not all, work instructions into Spanish.

My question is if there's a preferred format, from an ISO or practical standpoint that works best. My initial thought was to create a different, duplicate translated document with an "S" suffix to that a scan of the master document list makes it easy to pick out which are bi-lingual.

I know there's no "best" answer, but am looking for some feedback before I start. My ISO 13485 audit is about to start and I need to get the ball rolling on this.

Thanks.
 
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Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#2
I'm just discovering that most of our work force (I've been here 3 weeks) speaks NO English, and therefore need to translate most, if not all, work instructions into Spanish.
Before you spend a lot of time, effort and money translating the documents, I would suggest you check if the Spanish speaking workforce can read documents. I have seen cases where an organization goes through the trouble of translating a lot of documents, just to find out that a significant percentage of the work force was illiterate, even in their native language.

If that were the case, visual aids, pictorials, graphics, etc... would be a better way to communicate the process requirements. Such documents are, for the most part, unaffected by language and literacy. It works well in a diverse workforce environment, with multiple languages spoken.
 
M

MfgPro

#3
:applause: Point well taken. I hadn't thought of that and we already have a number of graphics for assembly purposes, but have some detailed instructions that have to be written.

Given that I know there's some stuff I have to create bi-lingual, is there, in fact, a suggested format?
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#4
...If that were the case, visual aids, pictorials, graphics, etc... would be a better way to communicate the process requirements. Such documents are, for the most part, unaffected by language and literacy. It works well in a diverse workforce environment, with multiple languages spoken.

I would focus toward this angle for any language. Digital photos are very useful and often much more versatile than dry text. Same applies to drawings and graphics. Becoming very common since the equipment is so easy to use anymore.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#5
I agree many foreign nationals working in the USA or any country which includes multilingual workers are often better served by work instructions which incorporate a lot of graphics. This is true of any work situation regardless of language barriers because the degree of literacy of the work force is often different from the degree of literacy of the one attempting to write text-only instructions.

One strategy I have helped client organizations deploy is to make their own digital film of the actual activity being performed in the prescribed manner with the sound track dubbed in the various languages of the work force. The film is thus reinforced by the hard copy instructions containing stills from the film. Each language version is on a separate DVD which can be popped into an inexpensive portable DVD player to be played right at the work station. Simple editing tools allow insertion of closeup shots of critical steps into the film, often adding animation, captions, and cartoon balloons to aid in understanding what is happening in the various steps of a work process.

A smart strategy we have found is to check with the Communication departments of local colleges and universities for advanced students to hire to help in the filming and editing to turn out a more polished product. The students get practical experience and some money (any workman worthy of hire is worthy of pay) plus work product they can show when applying for work in their field. The organization gets a good product, often with the oversight and advice of the student's instructor.

An added advantage
is getting a new set of eyes to look at the prescribed work instruction - we found some cases where the student, not being familiar with the process to begin with (as a new worker would also not be familiar), was able to point to very confusing steps and thus help "mistake proof" the work instruction.
 

CarolX

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#6
Before you spend a lot of time, effort and money translating the documents, I would suggest you check if the Spanish speaking workforce can read documents. I have seen cases where an organization goes through the trouble of translating a lot of documents, just to find out that a significant percentage of the work force was illiterate, even in their native language.
Excellent point, Sidney. We have run into this situation as well.

Another aspect to consider is spanish is not a single language - it is quite diverse. Hispanics from Mexico speak a differnt dialect than those from Honduras and different from those from Venuzuela.

The work instructions that we have translated are kept in the same format with the same control number assigned to them. In our master directory we idetifiy them with the work "Spanish" after the title.
 
T

Ted Schmitt

#7
Just a suggestion (after finding out if your employees are litterate as Sidney pointed), make your procedure / document in two columns... one in English and the other in Spanish... that way you only have one document to control
 

CarolX

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#8
Just a suggestion (after finding out if your employees are litterate as Sidney pointed), make your procedure / document in two columns... one in English and the other in Spanish... that way you only have one document to control
What a fantastic idea!!!:applause::applause::applause:
 
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