Three Reasons Food Safety Regulatory Agencies Need Translation Services

December 15, 2015 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

Food Safety terminologyLike any regulatory agency, those dedicated to regulating the safety of food differ from country to country in terms of policies and the way regulations are carried out. As these are generally agencies funded and run by the government, and each government is influenced in turn by the culture of the country, you can expect to see some interesting differences from one country’s food safety regulatory agency to the next.

Unfortunately, this makes for some difficult situations when it comes to the exchange of food products (ingredients, finished products, and more) between countries. What is safe and legal in one country may not be in another, and that needs to be understood by both parties or else stores could end up selling products that don’t meet the standards of the country. This in turn can lead to huge legal issues that would be a waste of time and resources that could be spent on things that are more beneficial to society.

That being said, here are a few reasons why the food safety regulatory agencies of each country should strongly consider partnering with translation service companies:

1. Consumers and governments alike need to have up-to-date information about other countries’ policies.

Almost all of the websites dedicated to regulatory agencies are perfectly up-to-date in the native language of their country, but generally they don’t provide the most current information in other languages. Some agencies are even behind as much as one year in updating their websites for English speakers, for example. For a tourist or even food safety regulatory agent to have to deal with such a lack of information is completely inexcusable. Hiring a translation services company to fix the problem would assure that everyone coming into the country for whatever reason would get the most recent information about food safety there.

2. Agencies tend to neglect speakers of languages other than the official language in their own countries.

In the U.S., you are likely to find that regulatory agencies don’t provide translations of all important documents into Spanish. Given that Spanish the second-most common language in the U.S., this is a huge problem. It goes beyond not providing updates in Spanish, as these are documents that form the basis of what these agencies stand for and do for the U.S. It’s not as if there is a lack of resources causing the problem, either, it’s just ignorance that could easily be remedied, or at least masked, by sending out the documents to be translated into Spanish as soon as they are written in English.

3. Individuals may not have the resources to translate important food safety information.

Not all governments are created equal, but most should have at least some money to translate important information, such as food safety policies, for their citizens and anyone else who may pass through the country. It shouldn’t be up to the individual perusing the website or pamphlet to figure out a way to accurately translate the information in front of them. The whole purpose of these regulatory agencies is to help keep people safe, and everyone has the right to be safe, regardless of their native language.

For an overview of our translation expertise, visit our technical translation service page.


Category: Business Translation

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