Food is seldom sold in the same area where it was grown. In fact, there has been a vibrant global trade in produce, meats, drinks, and processed foods at least since the early 1970s. The Middle Eastern region, itself, imports nearly 90% of its food, due to a combination of lack of water and contaminated land. All stages of food and drinks’ import and export utilize language experts.
In the United States, the agricultural industry has long depended on foreign workers for farming, transportation, food processing, and related service jobs. Since 2009, there have been just over one million foreign workers employed every year in agricultural production. Workers, mostly from Mexico, are often exploited, not only because they don’t know U.S. labor laws, but also because they don’t speak English.
Such was the case in Cesar Chavez’ time, who himself was a migrant worker for the first 19 years of his life. As an adult he campaigned for migrant worker rights and eventually set up the United Farm Workers of America, aiming for greater dignity and respect for agricultural workers from all countries.
Many learned from him, and in current times those agribusinesses who respect their workers employ interpreters to communicate with them. The interpreters introduce migrant workers to their accommodations, make sure they know the job and salary requirements, work out misunderstandings, and communicate back to the owners any problems that can’t be resolved.
Interpreters are also used by agricultural labor unions and legal advocacy groups to let workers know of their employment rights and to defend them when needed. Government officials, who write and print documentation related to farm worker requirements and rights, utilize translators to print documents in the languages of immigrant workers, and hire interpreters for hotlines to record complaints and answer questions.
Not only do interpreters and translators support the production of food – from initial recruitment of workers to day to day growing, packaging, and transportation – but they also support the stages following production. Selling grown and processed agricultural products requires marketing and communicating with buyers in other countries, which requires translators for websites and brochures, and interpreters for phone sales. Most ports hire interpreters to help smooth import/export operations and translators to set up online container tracking services in other languages.
If you are in a position to hire language experts for any stage of the agricultural industry, be aware that Dialog One can assist with over 150 languages. Call us whenever you need us.