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The compliance challenge – how language services can help you overcome it

Image credit: Warchi via iStock
in Language Connect

Of the many challenges facing businesses in 2018, one of the biggest is regulatory compliance. This is particularly true if your organisation operates in different international regions and markets, meaning you have various authorities and sets of rules to deal with.

There are numerous reasons why compliance is a key function of a successful company, from doing the right thing by your customers to avoiding the financial risks associated with non-compliance. However, there are just as many factors that can make it difficult for firms to keep up with complex rules and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Here are some of the reasons why compliance is such a considerable challenge in 2018, and why dedicated language services have a vital role to play in helping your business get it right.

Regulatory change

Regulations are constantly evolving, with existing rules being updated to maintain relevance and new standards being introduced in response to emerging risks or to reflect current trends in any given industry.

This year, businesses have witnessed some particularly high-profile regulatory developments, such as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This applies to all organisations that handle personal data belonging to citizens of the European Union, even if the company itself is not based in the EU.

Some rules and regulations apply specifically to certain industries. Financial services firms, for example, need to be aware of the second iterations of the EU's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Payment Services Directive, both of which came into force in January 2018.

With regulatory demands changing frequently, businesses must be able to rely on efficient language services that help them manage and complete key compliance tasks. This could include creating written guidance in various languages to ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities under new rules, or translating data protection policies and privacy notices to distribute to customers under GDPR.

Geopolitical uncertainty

Geopolitical risk is an unfortunate fact of life for most modern businesses, particularly large corporations that have operations in different countries around the world.

From the ongoing questions around Britain's exit from the EU to the uncertainty created by changing political administrations, there are many factors beyond your control that could have an impact on how you do business.

With the geopolitical climate in a seemingly constant state of flux and unpredictability, it's important for your organisation to have the efficiency and agility required to overcome new, evolving challenges.

Reliable language services can play a valuable role in helping you meet changing regulatory demands in this environment, partly through core offerings such as ensuring that legal documentation is translated quickly and accurately, with minimum risk of errors or inconsistencies. This can offer valuable reassurance and dependability at times when external factors are difficult to anticipate.

Developing technologies

Rapid development in technology can be a huge benefit for growing enterprises – opening the door to all manner of cost and efficiency gains and new services – but it also raises potential concerns that organisations must acknowledge.

In a recent report from US research and advisory firm Gartner, digitalisation and advancing tech capabilities were identified as some of the biggest risks that legal and compliance leaders are focusing on this year.

Abbott Martin, research leader for the legal and compliance practice at Gartner, offered some specific examples: "AI and machine learning create new and uncertain risks and potential liability issues for our organisations, and are uncharted waters not only for our companies, but for the legal and compliance spaces in general."

If your business is making increasing use of new technologies, it's vital to have thorough policies and communication practices in place to ensure all employees – and possibly customers – are aware of how this relates to compliance. If new ways of working are closely linked with the processing of consumer data, for example, there should be clear, well-translated guidance about this in relation to GDPR.

Public expectations

It's becoming increasingly common for members of the public to expect high standards of transparency and good corporate citizenship from private enterprises.

In our current era of privacy scandals and ongoing concern around issues such as business sustainability and environmental performance, how a brand is perceived by its customers could be a determining factor in its long-term success or failure. Demonstrating regulatory compliance could be an important part of this.

An international study published by consumer goods group Unilever last year showed that a third of consumers now prefer brands that do social or environmental good. The report highlighted a €966 billion (£853 billion) opportunity for companies that "make their sustainability credentials clear".

By coming up with the right communication strategies and investing in the services of an experienced language partner offering proven results, your organisation can achieve the dual benefits of improving consumer perceptions of your brand and staying in compliance with evolving regulatory demands.

Image credit: Warchi via iStock

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