WHAT DOES “CSR” MEAN IN THE TRANSLATION INDUSTRY?

By now it is well known that CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility and that we can define it as a “self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public”[1]. This can be interpreted in many ways and each company struggles to find a way to show that they are socially responsible. Every year the public receives reports about the CSR measures implemented by the major companies. These presentations are becoming more and more complex as the companies want to prove they give back to their communities and strive to make them see that they have their best interest at heart despite having a main goal of gaining profit. In the translation industry, it might seem like a vague concept, but in reality, there are many things that an LSP can do to show just how they work in a socially responsible manner.

Environment

Helping out with the environment is a good place to start. Here, translation companies focus on reducing their carbon footprint by managing their energy usage as well as the amount of paper used.

It is very easy to be a paperless company and thus help reduce the damage caused to the forests. Having everything in electronic format seems like the best solution in this case. At the same time, companies need to be conscious about the quantity and the type of electricity they use. Therefore, most companies have policies in place that help regulate such elements by using energy-efficient equipment and having well-insulated offices. Some employees believe in this CSR goal so much that they voluntarily choose to come to work via bicycles. It can be any little thing pushed ahead by the company culture, by top management or by each individual that can change mentalities and make a difference in the long run.

People

The most crucial element in the translating industry is the human aspect. It is the people that represent the building blocks of this industry and it is more than probable that this will never change. Whilst the technology that is being used is becoming increasingly advanced, there is always going to be a need for people to oversee the process (see: Machine Translation: An Honest Perspective).

As such, how companies choose to treat their employees is a very important part of their CSR strategy. This implies ensuring that the employees are fairly paid for the work they perform, and are provided with all the tools and training necessary to not only carry-out their assignments properly, but also leave room for further improving and developing their careers.

Another way to help your employees is to make sure that their work climate is always optimized by having openness, fairness, and respect. This has the side-benefit of increasing performance and allowing your employees to concentrate on delivering quality work at a decent pace. Managers who are well versed in localization project understand the need for having the time-element on their side. It is always helpful to allow your translators and editors enough time to do their job properly and take off as much pressure from their shoulders as possible. Less stress can always be associated with increased creativity and attention to detail, elements which are of the highest importance in a successful localization project.

Community

Last, but not least, it is of course important to talk about contributing to the community through various actions. This can be done in multiple ways. For example, a company can choose to donate to a cause. In the translating industry, we can see various programs dedicated to education that receive such funding or other types of charities (like Translators without Borders). At the same time, there are those companies that choose to have a firsthand involvement in the programs, whether by organizing events or by participating in events organized by other organizations.

At the end of the day, the most beautiful part of this practice is the fact that each and every one of us can choose to be socially responsible in their own way. The above categories are merely examples of what this industry has to offer and there are many ways in which we, in the translating community, can give back to the people and the Planet.

[1] Chen, J. (2019, February 11) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Retrieved from: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corp-social-responsibility.asp

 

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